Jan
09

Esquire Grill’s Dine Downtown Menu

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You’d have to be living under a rock not to notice the iconic teal signage plastered around Sacramento, heralding the arrival of Dine Downtown Week.

We’re even chattering about it—and for good reason.

This Sactown staple has become an annual tradition here in the River City, when popular downtown eateries open their doors with a tantalizing array of three-course dinner menus for $30 a plate.

One such restaurant—the iconic Esquire Grill—even offered this Sac Foodie a taste of their alluring menu, which will be available throughout the duration of Dine Downtown Week, January 9-18.

Diners have a choice between three appetizers, three mains and three desserts. Here’s the full menu. And here’s my enticing sneak-peek:

Appetizer: Deviled eggs with Dungeness crab, jalapeño, chives, fennel and sliced radishes

I’m usually that awkward guy at the party, standing in the corner with about five deviled eggs stacked on a cocktail napkin. But I would never think to order them at a nice restaurant. Luckily, Esquire lured me out of my comfort zone with this palate-primer. Each egg came complete with a tender, juicy piece of crab meat coated in the rich, deviled mixture. The bite was well-cut with the spicy crunch of a jalapeño slice, too. And the bed of fennel, chives and radish slices rounded everything out with a fresh feel.

Main: Grilled Beeler Ranch pork chop with savory bread pudding, wilted greens, and persimmon-pecan relish with pomegranate syrup

I’ve never met a pork chop I didn’t like (see my Mulvaney’s post). And this expertly grilled cut was no exception. Like Mulvaney’s, Esquire procures its pork from Beeler Ranch in Madison County, Iowa—a farm that prides itself on a legacy of animal husbandry stretching back multiple generations. That also means no growth hormones or antibiotics in their meat. And while I probably lack the delicate palate to distinguish between treated or untreated meat, I do like knowing that what I’m ingesting is natural. The chop’s savory, perfectly marbled bite was accented with a colorful cascade of persimmon, pecan and pomegranate seed relish that my date and I lauded enthusiastically. The wilted greens (arugula and mustard, to be exact) added another heavenly layer. And that bread pudding? I texted a friend on the spot and described it as no less than a revelation. I cleared this plate, even going so far as to gnaw the last, succulent bits of pork off the bone. Fair warning: You’ll likely do the same.

Dessert: Butterscotch crème brûlée with brown butter cookies

Not typically a fan of butterscotch. Or crème brûlée. The richness is usually a bit much for my taste. But again, Esquire swept me away with its delicately nuanced approach! After giving the brûlée crust a satisfying crack with the back of my spoon, I dipped into a silken crater that was certainly rich—but by no means overwhelming. In fact, it wasn’t long before my dining partner and I were frosting those delicious brown butter cookies with a layer of butterscotch crème and trying to hold a conversation through ecstatic smiles.

If you haven’t made the trek to Esquire lately, now’s your chance.

This well-executed menu offers a handful of enticing plates that underline the solid craft still simmering behind the open kitchen of this downtown staple, thanks to Chef Dan Moore (and Executive Chef Kurt Spataro).

And hello: $30 a plate won’t break your post-holiday budget.

I’ve always loved Esquire’s sexy, dark-wood, and decidedly political atmosphere. A stone’s throw from the Capitol, it exudes that old-school, bespoke vibe of Manhattans and oysters, soaring olive branch topiaries and alluring ladies in Hermès scarves. The space is far enough away from the booming nightlife of upper K Street, but near enough the Community Center Theater to catch a show, too.

In a word: Classic.

Esquire Grill
1213 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 448-8900

Note: I was a guest of Esquire Grill, and although the dinner was complimentary, the opinions expressed are my own.

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