THE LATEST SCOOP
Keeping you informed of local food and drink news.
WRITTEN BY FRANK DOMPE
ILLUSTRATION BY GREG BRADY
Welcome to edible Sacramento’s Edible Updates column. Here, we share the latest news from our area’s restaurants and food purveyors, updates from regional agricultural producers, and more details about our burgeoning food-and-drink scene.
An elegant space on Folsom Boulevard in East Sacramento is now home to Allora, the latest restaurant by Elizabeth-Rose Mandalou and Deneb Williams.
Building on the success of Woodlake Tavern and Uptown Pizza Kitchen, the husband and wife team has drawn on expertise in fine dining with a menu that gives top billing to fresh seafood and local produce. Mandalou’s credentials as an advanced sommelier are evident at the literal core of the establishment — sparkling at its center is a 22-foot-tall, glass wine cellar.
A similarly bright spot across from the arena on J Street is Echo & Rig, an expansive steakhouse geared to provide casual luxury from breakfast to last call. Chef Sam Marvin’s addition to the Downtown Commons closely replicates its Las Vegas twin with a large bill of fare that makes considerable use of the nose-to-tail butcher shop contained within. Like the Vegas original, Sacramento’s Echo & Rig shrugs off the stuffiness of a traditional chophouse. Vegan dishes, a coffee bar, breakfast and brunch, and a patio bar combine to satisfy a range of tastes.
Echo and Rig
When it comes to pizza, the only thing that might be more important than good cheese is the crust — the namesake of La Crosta Pizza Bar in West Sacramento. Both ingredients get to shine at this new venture from Sara Arbabian and Steve Tatterson. The couple has a solid record of celebrating the craft of cheesemaking at The Rind, a Midtown eatery with a deliberate cheese focus and a strong following. La Crosta expands that approach in a restaurant designed to fit within the neighborhoods near Third Street, a part of town without many spots offering handmade pies.
More news from the world of cheese: There’s a surprising new downtown venue offering delicacies of the cured and cultured sort. Rich, funky, smooth Époisses, a French cheese, is available, along with ’nduja — a spicy, spreadable Calabrian salumi — at The Elks Tower Casino & Lounge. With offerings such as wild mushroom crêpes for lunch and dayboat scallops for dinner, this card room’s open, inviting dining area is home to serious culinary efforts, including from-scratch cooking and locally sourced ingredients.
The Elks Tower Casino and Lounge
Range Kitchen & Tap, in Roseville’s Palisades Plaza, is styled as a rustic American establishment, but many of the dishes have adventurous sides that can’t be ignored. A beet carpaccio comes to the table as an artful arrangement; the pizzas and flatbreads include farmers’ market finds and short ribs in demi-glace; and desserts as simple as fruit crisps are individually crafted. For those more inclined toward comfort food, fried chicken, a classic burger, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes hit closer to home.
Range Kitchen and Tap
A proliferation of food trucks has brought fresh flavors to street eats, so why not turn the trend the other way? Mas Taco Bar aims to do just that by folding curried shrimp, braised short ribs, duck confit, and pork belly into tortillas and under creative garnishes. Patrons place their orders as they would at a dim sum restaurant, filling out cards that are then picked up by servers.
Mas Taco Bar
Restaurateurs Mason, Alan, and Curtis Wong have gone to great lengths to renovate the former Dos Coyotes location at R and 15th streets and are working on expanding the taco bar to two more locations in the region. One is planned for the Arden Town Center, and another will be in Folsom, next to an expansion of their Iron Horse Tavern in the Palladio at Broadstone.
The B Street Theatre’s new performing arts complex at 2700 Capitol Ave. includes a lively place for food and drink. Chico-based TBar & Fusion Cafe specializes in tea — hot, iced, frozen, sparkling, brewed as chai, or made into a latte. The company endeavors to present people with “tea like they’ve never had it before,” according to its website. Customers can order wraps and bowls by choosing proteins such as roasted ginger lamb, hoisin-glazed salmon, or grilled tofu to accompany their selections of grains, greens, and dressings, with side dishes available to round out the meal.
TBar & Fusion Café
The former site of Rubicon Brewing Co. is now home to Alaro Brewing Co., an outfit that unites a wealth of local talent. The beers on tap will be the work of longtime Rubicon brewer Chris Keeton. Co-founder Annette Ballestero was instrumental in the creation of River City Brewing Co., directing the restaurant at its former Downtown Plaza location. Alaro takes its name from the Ballestero family’s roots in the Mallorcan city of the same name, and the Spanish theme is borne out in beverages, including sangria and Spanish wines, as well as tapas.
Alaro Brewing Co.
The folks at Fizz proudly call it “Sacramento’s only Champagne and bubbles bar,” and its effervescence also is reflected in the devotion of its staff and the bona fide talents involved with the business. Founder Raymond James Irwin is a well-traveled Sacramento native with a passion for discovering extraordinary gems among the world’s sparkling wines, and Fizz’s website touts purveyor Kathryn Barnett as a graduate of the elite wine location specialist program, which involves extensive study of Champagne and Port and the regions in which they’re produced. Fizz is located in the Downtown Commons’ Plaza East, across from the Golden 1 Center.
World-class talent continues to emerge throughout the area, and a commitment to quality, originality, regional integrity, responsible living, and a sense of connection resonate in the way our culinary environment develops. Between recent arrivals and fresh iterations of old stalwarts, there’s always something new being brought to the table.
Frank Dompe is a freelance writer and former McClatchy Co. editor with a longtime interest in cooking and coffee. He lives and works in Sacramento’s Alkali Flat neighborhood.