Dine Downtown 2013: Blackbird Restaurant & Bar: a Field Mark of Sophistication
Sacramento’s Dine Downtown Week is now in full swing and it has been so much fun so far! Andy and I have had the privilege of trying out three different menus from a list of nearly 30 restaurants, and last night’s trip to Blackbird Restaurant and Bar was incredible!
I am only disappointed it took me this long to discover them. Since their opening in April last year, I had heard so many great things about the food and the atmosphere, the art on the walls, and so on. I kept reading Blackbird’s menu and wanting to go because almost everything on it was paleo! Now that I have a few more hours a week (since my work commute time has been drastically cut), it’s fun to be able to spend a little bit more time with Andy and hit some new-ish places like this one.
Here’s the Dine Downtown menu we enjoyed (understatement of the year so far) at Blackbird:
Tip: If you like wine (even remotely), do yourself a favor and spend the extra $15 for the wine pairing. You get three full glasses of wine. If you don’t think you can manage three full glasses, split the pairing with someone. It’s so worth it!
The first course was a Japanese Hamachi. It was some of the best raw fish I have eaten, and reminded me of dishes I have had at both Yoshi’s in Oakland, and at Taro’s here in Sacramento, but this was superior. The hamachi was topped with kumquat, castreltrevano olives, fine herb and maldon sea salt. It was paired with a glass of Forlorn Hope Semillon (2009) “Nacre-Yount Mill Vineyard.” The wine was very dry and the perfect platform for the hamachi. I couldn’t believe how beautifully the flavors paired up. I must have liked it, because it was the first time I ever finished a dish before Andy.
Next up was the Roasted Beet Salad. It was another perfect plate of food. I got really into beets in 2011 when I enjoyed a course made by Pajo Bruich (while he was at Lounge on 20). Then, I had another remarkable beet dish at Place Pigalle in Seattle. Lately, I have bought them at the Farmer’s Market on Sunday. A little bit about beets… in my opinion, the whole vegetable should be used in some way. The greens on top can be cut and sautéed with onions and bacon, just like kale or spinach.
At Blackbird, the beet salad was served with burrata (a soft and stretchy cheese), ver jus (the pressed juice of unripened grapes), pistachios and upland cress (which is different and less bitter than watercress). The pistachios really made the salad, providing a little bit of crunch. It was paired with a French Sauvignon Blanc: Patient Cottat, 2009, Menetou Salon. I am usually not a big lover of Sauvignon Blanc, but I liked this less grapefruit, more grassy selection.
I was already in heaven, but there was more to come. Our wine for the third course was brought to our table (Folk Machine Pinot Noir, 2011 Potter Valley) and then our plates were presented shortly after. The third course was a braised short rib, also known as Winnemuca Will, with hay roasted parsley root, whiskey laquered pearl onions & toasty oats. The meat was so tender and rich–again, the portion size was perfect. The toasted oats on top were such a treat and added another level of texture to the meat. And what is my favorite vegetable that makes a cameo? That’s right! Parsnips!! I think I was dancing in my seat at that point. 🙂
Overall, this was the best meal we have had during Dine Downtown because of the level of flavor and elegance with the finest (yet fewest) ingredients. I love that the menu didn’t allow any substitutions. It was like: “Welcome to our house. Let me show you what we do best and what we think you will like, and here’s the wine that goes with it.” At the end of a long work week, I was ready for that. I was happy to not have to make any decisions and just be delighted course after course.
Blackbird made me feel like I was dining in San Francisco or New York, but I am right at home and I love that. I love that Sacramento has more than a few restaurants/food trucks/eateries to brag about. It’s so hip to eat here now!
Blackbird Kitchen and Bar is open for business Tue-Thur 11:30am-10pm, on Friday 11:30am-11pm and on Saturday 4pm-11pm. They are closed on Sunday and Monday. Their Happy Hour runs from 3-6pm, Tuesdays through Friday.