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Esquire Grill Prix Fixe Menu Preview for Sacramento’s Dine Downtown Restaurant Week

Hey, where’s the burgers? This is the first post in a new section of burgerjunkies.com where I get to talk about things other than burgers in between official reviews. Let’s call it notaburger :)

This week marks the beginning Sacramento’s 7th year of highlighting the award winning downtown dining scene through the Downtown Sacramento Partnership’s annual Dine Downtown Restaurant Week event. Dine Downtown runs from today, January 9 and runs for 10 days through January 18. Each participating restaurant offers a special 3 course menu for just $30 per person.

On Friday, my wife and I had the opportunity to receive a complimentary preview some of the Dine Downtown menu selections from Esquire Grill located on historic K street next to the IMAX theatre. We were both excited, since this was our first time trying this elegant restaurant.

Here’s a quick sneak peak at Esquire Grill’s Dine Downtown menu offering.

 

 

Before the first course, my wife and I tried the warm bacon cheddar biscuits. These lovely loaves were served with a nice maple butter that was super soft and not overly sweet.

Warm Cheddar Biscuits
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For the first course, we were served the salad comprised of Roasted Beets, Avocado, Mandarin Oranges and Whipped Goat Cheese.

Beet Salad
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Now I have to be perfectly honest here and say that neither my wife or I are fans of beets. However, since this was an early (and did I mention complimentary :) menu preview opportunity, they had not yet sourced all of the items needed for their special menu. Because of this, the crispy pork belly and tasty sounding clam chowder first course options weren’t available. The silver lining to this was that it was good to note that sourcing fresh ingredients is a priority for the chef.

We were, however, big fans of just about every other element in the dish.  The salad was dressed in their wonderful candied garlic vinaigrette, which, coupled with the mandarin oranges, had enough sweetness to balance out the usually bitter taste of the frisée greens. If you love beets, you’ll love this salad option.

For the second course, I had the Grilled Beeler Ranch Pork Chop served with a butternut squash bread pudding, braised red cabbage, and honey poached cranberries.

Grilled Pork Chop
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 This dish was plated beautifully! The old saying that “you eat with your eyes first” totally held true here. When the plate arrived, half of me just wanted to look at it and take pictures and the other half wanted to dive in with knife and fork. As a dutiful blogger, I held my composure long enough to take these photos.

Pork Chop
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The pork chop was perfectly prepared on their wood-fired grill and was topped with the fresh cranberries. The overall plate brought back fond memories of the holiday season that had just come to a close. The butternut squash bread pudding felt like a lighter version of a Thanksgiving stuffing. It was blended with gruyere cheese which enhanced the slight sweetness of the squash and added just the right amount of salt.  Each juicy bite of the pork chop seemed better than the previous and I barely stopped myself from gnawing on the bone. Some of the cranberries were sweet from the honey while others kept their original tartness.  I really loved everything about this main course!

For the final course we had the Warm Apple and Pair Crisp with Vanilla Ice Cream:

Warm Apple and Pear Crisp
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The holiday theme continued with this warm and welcoming dessert. It was fun to dip down through the streusel crust into the sweet apple and pear layers all the way down to the cranberry surprise at the bottom. It was like a mini apple pie (without a bottom crust) and dipping through the cool ice cream was a nice way to end the night.

If you’ve been meaning to try some of the great restaurants in downtown Sacramento, Dine Downtown week is the perfect time to cross a few off of your todo list. You can download PDF menus for each of the participating restaurants here.

I’d definitely suggest putting Esquire Grill on your list. This is one of Sacramento’s best fine dining establishments, and at $30 per person for 3 courses, it may be one of the best deals on the Dine Downtown lineup.

Also worth noting: The Paragary family of restaurants is currently offering a super social media promotion where you’re guaranteed to win a gift card valued between $5 and $50 by checking in to their restaurant on Facebook, Tweeting a picture, or uploading a photo to Foodspotting.  I checked in via Facebook and got to pull out of a bucket of  corks with different dollar amounts written on them (I won a $5 gift card :). This is a great example of a restaurant using social media tools to connect with local diners and a little extra incentive to try one of the Paragary’s restaurants sooner rather than later!

Which restaurants are on your list of “must try” for Dine Downtown Restaurant Week?

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