On a recent weekday a good friend and I met for lunch at this much buzzed about midtown establishment to see if it truly lives up to its name. We were not disappointed. Known for long lines at Sunday brunch, the lunch hour was nicely low-key with plentiful seating. We were in and out with time to spare, a necessary thing for a limited workday lunch break.
Chef and owner Billy Zoellin has definitely created a dynamic, palate tingling menu. I would expect nothing less from a chef that has learned from the who’s who of Sacramento restaurateurs – from Biba Caggiano to Randall Selland and Patrick Mulvaney. If that wasn’t enough, you can also catch him making duck confit club sandwiches and smocked slaw-and-sausage pizza for the Golden Bear on an episode of the Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” Did I mention he’s only 29?
Now, let’s dive into the food. Options abound on this seasonal, locally-sourced and sustainably-focused menu, making our decisions difficult. Do we go for the delectable sounding chicken and Andouille hash or b.l.t. omelet filled with heirloom tomatoes, bacon steak, watercress and brie? Or, do we stick to the so-called “lunchish” options of grilled cheese sandwich with five kinds of cheese or the panzanella salad? After much deliberation I picked the b&b burger and my friend chose the biscuit sandwich.
Let me pause here and wipe the drool off my face. Ok, I’m back. I don’t throw accolades easily, but that burger was one of the best I’ve ever had. Zoellin masterfully builds flavor by combining freshly ground beef with just the right amount of bacon inside and on top. It’s juicy, perfectly seared, lightly seasoned and wonderfully balanced with the smoked aioli. Add in some crisp shallot rings and havarti cheese and let the “trip to Flavortown” begin as Guy Fieri would say. The side of smashed potatoes (masterfully poached, smashed then fried) is rustic yet light and unexpected. I’ve never had potatoes served like this and I can’t wait to try it at home.
My friend was equally enamored with her biscuit sandwich. The housemade biscuit barely holds in the Beeler’s bacon (the Beeler family has been making premium bacon for six generations), cheddar cheese blanket and caramelized onions. Top it off with an egg and chive mascarpone and you have a hearty breakfast that’s perfect for lunch. Yum.
Long story short, do not pass Go!, do not collect $200, but head directly to Bacon & Butter for an affordable farm-to-table menu. You won’t regret it!
Bacon & Butter
1119 21st St., Sacramento