Picture a master chef browsing the farmers market, selecting perfect local ingredients, creating the night’s menu as he shops. The result would be something like the food you find at Mulvaney’s – my favorite Sacramento restaurant.
You never know what might be for dinner from night to night – just that it will be distinctive, expertly prepared, fresh and tasty.
Mulvaney’s occupies a former firehouse built in midtown in 1893. Its menu changes daily. But you know that the heated activity in the open kitchen will always lead to something special at your table.
On our last visit we had chilled Spanish almond soup. Ever had that? Neither had I. But it was a perfect summertime meal starter. I followed it with a quail and chili dish that would please any foodie. Dessert was fresh sorbets – pluot, watermelon and cantaloupe.
Others in our party had house-made pasta with fresh mushrooms, or a perfectly prepared 28-day dry aged rib-eye steak. The alluring salmon at a nearby table said something like: next time, try me.
Mulvaney’s has another quality that turns meals into dining experiences. That’s the skill of the servers.
Despite a bustlingly active dining atmosphere, they provide the perfect balance between attentive and intrusive – there when you need them, not when you don’t. And they know their stuff. Our waitress recited preparations along with each of the fresh components on the menu and, when I stumped her on the variety of chili accompanying the quail, she happily checked with the cooks to find out. (Padron – often used in tapas). She also recommended the perfect wine pairing.
If you are looking for a special dining experience, whether entertaining those big city out of town guests with big city expectations or just relaxing at the end of a day, you will have a tough time finding a better place to do it than Mulvaney’s.
Not yet as famous as the dignified, upscale Biba, Mulvaney’s, with its “hand-crafted new American cuisine,” is destined to be just as iconic on the Sacramento fine dining scene.
That’s another way of saying I endorse Michelle Reynolds’ earlier recommendation of Mulvaney’s, which you also can find at atLarrys.com.