The Kitchen Restaurant, Sacramento


We’ve all had bad restaurant experiences where you’re either ignored by your server or the food doesn’t quite live up to your expectations.

I don’t see this ever being the case when it comes to The Kitchen, the self-proclaimed “anti-restaurant.” Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, The Kitchen (owned by Randall Selland of Ella Dining Room & Bar and Selland’s Market Café) is one of the toughest places to get a reservation in Sacramento—and for good reason. Only 50 patrons are served per day and the place, housed in an inconspicuously unmarked building in the Arden area, is set up to feel like you’re eating right in someone’s kitchen—someone’s fancy, superbly stocked kitchen, that is.

As one of those lucky 50 diners one evening a couple weeks ago, I walked in and was told that the restaurant’s one rule is that there are no rules. You can walk around, check out what the chefs are doing in the back, ask questions and even request second or third helpings of any of the six courses. Everything is prepared right in front of you, made with seasonal and local ingredients.

The menu changes every month, and August’s was especially delicious. We started off with a twist on the Banh Mi, a traditional Vietnamese sandwich, and then moved on to an heirloom tomato soup with Dungeness crab. Both plates were oozing with unique flavor, yet were light, leaving enough room for the heartier courses to come.

The entrées consisted of rabbit ravioli with goat cheese, fresh salmon, racks of lamb and Maine lobster. As someone with a plainer palate, I wasn’t quite sure if I was going to like these rich options, but every bite surprised me and left me wanting more. Even the seemingly simple sides of creamed yellow corn and English peas were just as enjoyable as the main dishes.

A highlight of the evening was the white glove tea service before dessert. The freshly brewed tea and coffee were fantastic, but something else stole the show for me. Being the scrupulous Googler that I am, I researched beforehand and learned that numerous reviewers online highly recommended ordering the hot chocolate.

Oh. My. Chocolatey. Goodness. Words can’t even begin to describe the heaven that was every sip of that hot chocolate. I raved so much about it that several diners sitting near me ordered it as well.

My sweet tooth kicked into high gear during dessert when they brought out the mountain berry crepes and freshly made peach ice cream. It was the perfect ending to a perfect dining experience.

Although it’s quite the splurge to eat at The Kitchen, it was worth every penny. The staff was attentive and welcoming, and I’ve never tasted better food. I recommend saving up for it and checking it out at least once. Your taste buds will thank you.

The Kitchen Restaurant
2225 Hurley Way
Sacramento, CA 95825


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1 Comment so far ↓

  • Travel Related Advantages | Sep 13, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Oh MY!!!! That dessert looks absolutely amazing!!! Thanks as always for your great tips!