Decent dining in Sacramento

Dinner Friday night at the Zinfandel Grille (the “e” makes it elegant, or cool, or $2 more expensive).  The food was good, the service was  reasonable.

We had to rush right out after the session because the modern idea is that bridge players are all 84 years old and want to get the early bird special at Denny’s.  Heck, the way we’re going, in another 6 or 7 years that might be true.

Anyway, we wandered off to this restaurant on Fair Oaks Blvd, about 10 minutes from the Doubletree and very close to the Dante Club, where Sacramentans have played bridge for over 40 years–it’s where I started while going to UC Davis.

We got seated easily, but there isn’t much business that early.  The bread was un-exciting but the oil and balsamic vinegar and spices were good, so if you soaked up enough the taste worked out.  I began with the non-exceptional black bean soup, then came the entrees.

“Pan seared” Chicken, covered in some kind of yellow stuff.


Russ had what they called  pan seared chicken, although it looks more battered and fried to me.  It must have been good, there were no leftovers.

Here, however, is where the Zinfandel Grille shines:

Wild Salmon on angel hair pasta.


They were offering two specials: a wild, line-caught salmon served with something, and a shrimp and scallop dish with house-made angel hair pasta.  Being naturally contrary, I wanted both–the salmon on the pasta.  Being smart, they managed to work it out, and I ended up with one of the best pieces of salmon I’ve ever enjoyed, cooked perfectly, on a bed of wonderful pasta with a butter and fresh tomato and herb sauce.

Gail’s dish was pretty wonderful, too:

Avocado and crab salad.


This is theoretically an appetizer–a salad accompanied by a mold of avocado and crab.  The presentation is ingenious and delightful, the meal was fresh and interesting.


We might well have had dessert, but it was already 6:30 and we had to rush back to play bridge–it is no longer permitted to relax between sessions.

I’m accustomed to the idea of paying corkage if you bring your 0wn wine. I wonder if they would charge crustage if you brought a decent loaf of bread into this place–it’s all they really need to be excellent.


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