Sep
01

New Restaurant Preview: Ten22

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Last week, a few of the SacFoodies were lucky enough to be invited to attend a preview and tasting event at what will soon be Ten22 – a hip new restaurant in Old Sacramento’s historic Orleans building.  Surrounded by fellow local foodie bloggers including “Cakegrrl” Kristy DeVaney, Sarah Campbell of Twin Soup and Sacramento Magazine’s Kira O’Donnell and Marybeth Bizjak, we were in good company! Owner Terry Harvego (his family owns the Firehouse) played host alongside Irie Gengler (of Roseville’s Crush 29), the consulting chef for the restaurant.

First, we learned what the layout of the restaurant would be like once construction is complete.  While the interior of the restaurant will be anchored by an open kitchen featuring a wood and stone pizza oven allowing patrons to enjoy the ambiance of the oven flames, we were most excited to learn that the outdoor patio will feature a fire pit of its own and seat 100 guests! We were already imagining ourselves heading to Ten22 for post-work Friday happy hours. Then, when Terry added that the bar would include 24 beers on draft alongside a California-centric wine list, we were sold (and we hadn’t even tried the food yet!).

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Next, we headed upstairs to the posh Orleans lofts where we’d have the tasting portion of our preview. Terry asked us to weigh in on everything from what color the napkins should be to which wine glasses they should choose to how long happy hour should run – and weigh in we did! As we chatted, Irie brought out Jalapeño Martinis for everyone – a drink he is well-known for at Crush 29. We expected something hot and spicy and were pleasantly surprised when the drink was actually cool and refreshing.

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We were seated at a long table (with a mis-match of chairs under consideration that Terry wanted us to try out) when the food began to arrive. First, we tried Brandy Marinated Beef Skewers which were served alongside maple-accented sweet potatoes with a pomegranate-soy dipping sauce. I think we all agreed that this dish was a hit, especially the sweet potatoes.

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As we tried a couple other plates served in varying presentations, Irie explained their culinary mission to offer great food with great service in a family-friendly atmosphere.  Their goal is to have guests come in and recognize the menu items but to leave saying, “Wow, I’ve never had it like that before!”  We can say that mission was accomplished when we tried what seemed to be the big surprise of the night – Kool-Aid flavored pickle chips!  They were served alongside the “Pogo Sticks,” mini corn dogs with two dipping sauces, including a spicy brown mustard sauce. It was such an unusual combination of kid-friendly flavors that were both fun and nostalgic to eat.

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We also enjoyed prawns wrapped in crisp phyllo strings served with an Asian-style dipping sauce.  The fresh cilantro that was incorporated into the sauce and used as a garnish added a special element to the dish.  While delicious, this was a messy one to eat.  The room was unanimous in their suggestion to lose the skewers that were part of the presentation.

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Finally, we were treated to a dish that many of us deemed the best of the night: Slow Braised Baby Back Ribs with a honey BBQ sauce served with crispy sweet potato fries. The meat was fall-off-the-bone tender – in fact, it didn’t even feel like we were eating ribs it was so tender! One diner even proclaimed them the best ribs she’d ever had, while a few others said that though they typically don’t order ribs, these would keep them coming back for more.

While feedback from the crowd was divided on a few things like the pickle chips and the stem-less wine glasses, we were all in agreement that Ten22 will be a must-stop destination from lunch hours to happy hours.

In honor of its namesake, Ten22’s grand opening is slated for October 22, 2009.  You can stay posted on latest updates by visiting www.Ten22oldsac.com or by following them on Twitter.

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