If variety is the spice of life, then why do some restaurants force you to choose a single entree? Does everything on the menu seem mysterious and strangely appealing? Can’t decide what you want to eat or need one of everything on the menu? The answer to these dilemmas is the tasting menu, offering several small courses and a “tour” of the restaurant. Hand-picked by the chef and artfully prepared, the following five tasting menus promise to deliver stimulation and satisfaction.
See our previous Best Tasting Menus In Sacramento article here.
5530 Douglas Blvd., Suite 110
Granite Bay, CA 95746
www.hawksrestaurant.comAs most restaurants have come to consider the gold standard in dining, so too has Hawks Restaurant, specializing in seasonal ingredients. Each season, the menu changes by necessity, not just for maximum freshness, but for maximum flavor and impact. Ordering a traditional dish simply cannot expose the palette to all the sensations of the season. To more fully showcase each season’s splendor, Hawks offers a seasonal tasting menu (seven courses for $90 and a $45 wine pairing) as well as a signature tasting menu (five courses for $60 and a $35 wine pairing).
The Firehouse Restaurant
1112 2nd St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
The Firehouse Restaurant seems to continually be listed in the Best Of categories, and in tasting menus, it’s no different. Excellence is difficult to ignore, even if it seems redundant. Guess what? Anything you order from The Firehouse is going to be amazing, which could make it more difficult than ever to choose. So don’t choose. Get its tasting menu and try a little of everything. The chef’s tasting menu comes with five courses for $68, or with wine pairing for $98.
Enotria Restaurant and Wine Bar
1431 Del Paso Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815
www.enotria.comEnotria offers a five-course tasting menu for $75 with an optional $55 wine pairing, or a seven-course tasting menu for $105 with an optional $75 wine pairing. It also offers guest chef tasting menus. Enotria is also dedicated to seasonal offerings and won the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2012. More than with any other tasting menu, wine pairing is best met at Enotria, whose motto is “food made for wine made for food.”
Paul Martin’s American Grill
1455 Eureka Road
Roseville, CA 95678
www.paulmartinsamericangrill.comWhat makes the dining experience at Paul Martin’s so special is its philosophy: “To take diners back to the farm with meat raised in a humane and wholesome way, locally sourced organic produce, the best of both wild and farmed fish, artisan cheeses and cured meats from small local purveyors.” With over 40 local, responsible sources providing ingredients at the peak of the season, it seems rather close-minded to order only one or two items from the menu. That’s probably why it offers the Taste of Paul Martin’s every day from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Cocktails, wine and appetizers like chicken wings and street tacos, to small entrees like smoked salmon and shrimp cocktail are available for between $4 to $12 each, making it easy to try a wide variety of menu items.
2801 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95816
www.biba-restaurant.comBiba isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a reputation. Winner of the KCRA3 A List for Best Italian in 2012 and 2013, owner and head chef Biba is also the best-selling author of seven cookbooks. Along with the best Italian food around, she offers a monthly recipe online for anyone to try at home. With all the expertise Biba has to offer, it seems a shame for the Italian food lover to be limited in choices. Perhaps this is why Biba offers a seasonal prix-fixe menu. Only available Monday through Wednesday, the three-course menu is $35 per person.
Related: Best Tasting Menus In The Sacramento Area
Laurel Hanson is a freelance writer uncovering Sacramento’s healthy food secrets in local restaurants, locavore havens, and even local foraging. Her work can be found on Examiner.com