Now through January 21, some of Sacramento’s finest restaurants are offering special 3-course dining experiences for just $35. From French Dip to fondue, participating Dine Downtown restaurants are serving up dishes that will make you glad you live in the Farm-to-Fork Capital.
However, your taste buds won’t be the only thing that’ll be satisfied — your conscience will be, too! One dollar from every Dine Downtown meal will support social services and food literacy programs in the Sacramento region. (Fun fact: Just $4.11 provides a week of food literacy education for one child. During Dine Downtown, a party of four can make a difference in one child’s life.)
The Sacramento365 crew has the lowdown on what Dawson’s Steakhouse, Foundation Restaurant and Bar, and The Melting Pot have prepared for the next 11 days. Warning: You will get hungry.
Marketing and Development Manager
I can’t tell you how many events I’ve been to at the Hyatt Regency Sacramento, but I have never enjoyed a meal at Dawson’s Steakhouse. I realize now that I have been missing out.
Executive Chef, Michael Grande, has been with Hyatt for 10 ½ years — from Boston to DC to Sacramento to Scottsdale and back to Sacramento. Much of the menu’s inspiration, especially with the Dine Downtown menu, is inspired by the places he’s lived and his personal experiences.
I am fortunate enough to have tasted everything on their Dine Downtown menu, which includes two options in each course to choose from. While every dish is unique and tasty, I do have a few favorites.
First Course: Housed Cured Duck – Rye Cracker, Shaved Brussel Sprouts, Pickled Mustard Seed Vinaigrette
Recommended wine pairing: Tolosa, Pinot Noir, Edna Valley 2014
The inspiration for this dish was to taste like a good Reuben or pastrami sandwich and it is spot on with its flavor.
Second Course: Beef Cheek Poutine – 48 Hour Beef Cheek, White Cheddar Curds, Crispy Potato Planks, Royal Trumpet Mushrooms
A few comments from Chef Grande about this dish, “the beef cheek tastes like a short rib on steroids,” and “cheese curds make for great drunk food.” (Thanks Chef for the good advice.) This is a filling dish, but so delicious, and the mushrooms help balance it out so it isn’t overbearing. Also, the cheese curds are a perfect touch.
Third Course: Blood Orange Crostada – Blood Orange Curd, Vanilla Bean Cream, Fresh Blood Oranges
Personally, this is the most surprising dish for me. I am a huge chocolate fan and rarely pick a fruit dessert over a chocolate dish. The other dessert option is the TCHO Chocolate Cremeux — with Hazelnut Shortbread, Passion Fruit Reduction, and brown butter caramel powder — it was rich, delicious, and right up my alley, but the Blood Orange Crostada left me cleaning the plate. It is light, not overly sweet, and the citrus from the oranges gives it a lovely refreshing flavor.
As a local, I often don’t think about dining in our hotels’ restaurants, and that’s a big shame on me. Dawson’s is welcoming, delicious, and the type of impression I hope Sacramento visitors (and locals) experience.
Jamila B. Khan
Content and Social Media Coordinator
Whether you are looking an intimate date night or a night out with family or friends, you are guaranteed an experience at The Melting Pot. And an unforgettable one at that.
At most restaurants, you typically spend 45 minutes to an hour dining; at The Melting Pot, you’ll find yourself at your table for two and a half to three hours. Honestly, in this manic world, taking the time to slow down is a welcomed change. And time will pass surprisingly quickly. After being spellbound by ooey-gooey cheese, simmering your crudites, and laughing as you fish out a drowned strawberry, your evening will have flown by.
The Melting Pot’s Dine Downtown menu is a selection of its greatest hits — you’ll find its most requested savory and dessert fondues all on one page. Do come hungry; this molten foodie adventure will leave you warm and comfortably full.
You’ll start off with seasoned cheese fondue, an entrée hot pot, and end on a sweet note with your choice of chocolate fondue — a perfect meal for these colder Sacramento nights.
First Course: Cheese Fondue
While I opted for the Spinach Artichoke, a thick blend of Fontina and Butterkase with spinach, garlic, and artichoke hearts, you also have the option to dunk your sourdough and Dutch Crunch bread and assorted fruits and vegetables into aged cheddar and Emmenthaler (the “Wisconsin Cheddar”) or a spicy mix of cheddar, beer, mustard powder, bourbon and bacon (aptly named “Bourbon Bacon Cheddar”). In my humble opinion, the Spinach Artichoke really brightens the sharpness of the Granny Smith Apples.
Additional artisan dippers or hand-cut cured meats can be added for $5. Note that the complimentary plate is the right amount for two people.
Second Course: Entrée
The main event! With this course, you not only select your dippers, you also decide how to cook them. For dipping, Selection 1 and 2 are for perfect for carnivores, a mix of chicken, shrimp, pork medallions and a pasta. For veg heads like me, The Vegetarian offers artichoke hearts, ginger teriyaki marinated tofu, Wild Mushroom Sacchetti and vegetable polpettes, meatless meatballs that have the look and texture of the real deal. (If you’re feeling fancy, you can add lobster tail for $20.)
Broth options include a complimentary vegetable broth, but if you want to spice up your life, you can try the Caribbean-inspired Mojo broth, the Burgundy-infused Coq au Vin, or the European-styled (and cholesterol-free) Bourguignonne.
When cooking your selections, remember this rule: vegetables take about 90 seconds to cook while meats need 2 minutes to simmer.
Third Course: Chocolate Fondue
Make sure to save room for the ultimate indulgence — melted chocolate! With nine options to choose from, it’s hard to know which concoction is best to drown your bite-sized strawberries, bananas, pound cake, and brownies into. With white chocolate as my vice, I was lured to the Banana Foster, a mix of the chocolate with dulce de leche, cinnamon and sliced banana. Not only is it divine, its flame is also very Instagramable (if you are into that sort of thing).
If you are looking to make this an exceptional night out, consider pairing dessert with a wine flight. For $17 you’ll get a 3-ounce pour of Pinot Gris, Barbera, Walker Zinfandel, and Primitivo from Placerville’s own Boeger Winery.
Located on the corner of 4th and L Street, the entrance to Foundation Restaurant and Bar is reminiscent of a classic San Francisco eatery. Checkerboard marble floors, white leather bar stools and decowood, the decor is traditional with a little maritime flair. We were seated at a table alongside a window overlooking 4th Street and treated to not only impeccable service but to a tasting that was equally delectable.
Foundation’s Dine Downtown menu is full of numerous beautifully tasty options created by chef Jeremie Smith, who combines the seasonally focused with the pub-inspired.
Our first course was the grilled artichoke halved with olive oil encrusted Parmesan and drizzled with a lemon chive aioli. Being somewhat of an appetizer addict, this easily could become my new daily go-to. The cool zesty aioli gives the flavorful and warm artichoke just the perfect amount of punch.
For the second course, we were treated to the Braised Beef Short Ribs. Accentuated by none other than savory root vegetables and mashed potatoes, the entire dish is perfectly enveloped in a mouthwatering red wine pan sauce. The chef clearly knows his meats, as it was flawlessly tender and a most memorable feast.
The third-course dessert options included a Decadent Chocolate Brownie Pie a la Mode with caramel and chocolate sauce or a Buttery Pound Cake with strawberries and whipped cream, both tantalizing in their own right.
Foundation Restaurant and Bar is a fabulous addition to Sacramento’s burgeoning restaurant scene. Our hospitable server/manager Cameron is attentive and offered a detailed description of each dish and a flavorful history of this landmark restaurant. Its location is perfectly conducive to a night on the town.
Barely a block from the Golden 1 Center and a stone’s throw from Raley Field, this restaurant and bar offers a perfectly calm oasis to round out your evening with a simply delicious meal.
I’m definitely pleased to have found a new place to add to my short list!
Need more help deciding which restaurants to visit at this year? Check out this handy-dandy guide from Downtown Sacramento Partnership.