Enotria Restaurant Wine Bar is the definition of a destination restaurant. It sits in a commercial area less than four miles from the State Capitol and the great restaurants of downtown and East Sacramento. Across the street is an old ice house – yes a place that sells ice – and an aged ice skating rink.
Despite years of planning, good intentions and millions of redevelopment dollars, the only food you might expect to see along this stretch of Del Paso Boulevard would be either fast or free: a Burger King or a soup kitchen.
In short, there is little reason to venture into this neighborhood at dinner time other than to dine at Enotria. But that is more than reason enough.
The menu is created to offer enough variety to suit any group and the cooking is carefully inventive. Ever hear of peppadew peppers? I hadn’t until I saw them on the menu offered stuffed with chevre and sesame seeds. The small red peppers, about the size of a cherry tomato, were served eight to a plate at room temperature. Delicious with just enough of a peppery bite to be interesting.
Jennifer ordered a potato gnocchi special that was absolute heaven. Her rack of lamb was cooked perfectly. And I had a rib eye steak that was on special. It came topped with an unlikely mound of chopped avocado, cucumbers and red bell peppers that was extraordinary.
As with so many other places, the menu changes frequently and features locally sourced items with which the kitchen works magic. We were waving thumbs up to the chef after the appetizers.
The restaurant is broken into four separate dining areas. There’s the wine bar, where small plates are the order of the day, but the regular menu also is available. There’s the main dining room, which is quietly elegant. Then there are two outdoor dining areas, each shielded from the street by the main building and from the neighborhood by walls and a fountain.
Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the slowest nights for dinner. But the rest of the week it seems Sacramentans don’t mind traveling a bit to a neighborhood is less than picturesque to attend this top notch restaurant.