By Jon Schuller and Tracy Tierney
Tracy: As someone who has shared her past Ten22 dining experience on SacFoodies, I knew I was in for a night of fabulous fare and superb customer service. While I have previously sampled the winter menu as well as lunch items, the restaurant’s fall menu was new to me. It’s equally delicious and featured locally grown items to boot.
Jon: As the casual-dining cousin to Old Sacramento’s venerable Firehouse Restaurant, Ten22 offers a similar commitment to upscale dining with a more down-home approach. Executive Chef Jay Vergge leads a team of chefs serving up a commitment to seasonal fare with organic, sustainable and local ingredients whenever possible. A common tune in Sacramento these days, and one recognized in the city’s recent proclamation as the Farm-to-Fork Capital of America. The restaurant’s fall menu touts some adventurous and well-executed dishes that, to this diner, appear rooted in comfort with an elevated touch.
Tracy: I started my evening off right—with beer on tap from one of my favorite breweries, Stone. Their dark, flavorful smoked porter warmed my soul on this chilly evening.
Jon: I went with Chardonnay and, trusting my server’s familiarity with the house wines, sipped through a sampling of three, before settling on the Wente Reserve. It was her first recommendation and my eventual choice, after asking for something balanced between buttery and fruit-forward. Perfect.
Warm truffled mushroom salad
Jon: Oh, truffle oil. My old nemesis. Blending perfectly with this salad’s casked wine vinegar, the dressing lent a beautiful, mouthy earthiness to every bite. Spinach leaves, velvety mushroom caps, twisted strips of thick, crispy bacon—this is definitely a salad for fall. I have to say my biggest surprise came from the fried turnips, delicately positioned atop the textured bed. A great starter and very well executed.
Gorgonzola and baked apple
Tracy: Next up was a unique appetizer, the Gorgonzola Baked Apple, which included three individual squares of cheese, baked apple and a honey comb. Who would have thought to put all three together? It didn’t take long for me to find out why—the three flavors together were unexpected yet superb.
Lamb “shortribs” with organic polenta
Tracy: For my entrée, our server recommended her favorite: the lamb atop a healthy portion of polenta. The tender, juicy short ribs and their accompanying sauce melted in my mouth, and they were flawlessly complemented by the polenta. The serving size was quintessentially comfort food-esque—I finished about half of my dinner and brought the rest home for round two!
Grilled elk bavette steak
Jon: I’ve had bison. I’ve had venison. But never elk. So when I saw this cut on the menu (bavette = a French term for, essentially, flank steak), I figured I’d give it a try. Leaner and higher in protein than beef, I was expecting the usual gaminess, but was surprised that the Colorado-raised organic meat tasted rather tender on the palate. The peppery plum au jus added a sweet quality to the bite, too. And while the cauliflower-gold potato side was described as a galette on the menu, it appeared more as a gratin to my eye (our knowledgeable server also referred to it as such). Whatever you call it, it was divine. Perfectly textured, not too buttery, and with just the right amount of creaminess, I have half a mind to walk into Ten22 and boldly order an entire plate of this next time. Combined with the creamed spinach (also local), it’s no wonder why I nearly licked my plate clean and had zero room for dessert.
Tracy: Overall, our server put it perfectly when we arrived—Ten22 features a menu full of “warm, comforting goodness!” I will have to go back come spring and summer to round out my full seasonal experience at this excellent Old Sac staple.
Jon: “Warm, comforting goodness” is right. The shortribs and the steak were just a couple of the comfort-inspired offerings at Ten22 this season. Other bright spots, like the pork and beans (house-made smoked pork, tenderloin, sausage, and bacon), sweet potato gnocchi, and organic chicken pot pie carry the siren call. The restaurant’s just-launched fall cocktail menu also beckons.
1022 Second Street