The L Wine Lounge and Urban Kitchen on 1801 L Street in Sacramento opened about two months ago and finally last Friday we got to try it out.
The owners Marcus and Kolea Marquez has opted for a very chic, contemporary design of the space that fit the new complex it is located in. The space consists of a wine bar, tables for dining at two levels and an outdoor patio area for summer nights. We sat at the patio to enjoy the courtyard and it's sleek architecture.
The wine list is relatively short but well composed and the menu is set up of an array of small plates to match and share. I love this kind of eating as you get to try so may things from the menu. The chef is Ame Harrington, formerly at The Kitchen, and she has done a great job selecting items for the menu.
We started of with the Three Cheese Plate. A goat cheese, a hard cows milk, and a soft cows milk was accompanied by olives, Marcona almonds, peach slices, dates, fig cake, preserved whole walnut (interesting item that I have never seen before), and bread. A great start to our meal!
After that we ordered several items to share at the table.
Flat Iron Steak with jus, fresh porcini mushrooms, and some other mushrooms (that I did not recognize). The steak was incredibly juicy, tender and flavorful. A great dish.
Pan Seared Pizzetta came in two versions and we picked the one topped with a goat cheese spread, eggplant and basil. Perfect to satisfy our craving for carbs. I am not usually a big fan of eggplant but this creation from Ame was fantastic.
Last but not least we had a total of three plates (yes you heard it right) of Slow Roasted Babyback Ribs. These were the best ribs any of us had had in a long time. There was plenty of meat at the ribs and it was extremely succulent and fall-of-the-bone tender. They had a really interesting seasoning to them and Ame was kind enough to share the rub with us: juniper berry, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and pepper. I will have to try my hand on this at home. On the side a grated mango salad with cilantro. Perfectly refreshing and it paired great with the seasoning of the ribs.
We tried two different wine from the wine list. Our group of four that went out that night are all pinot noir fanatics and we started out with the August West 2005 Rosella's Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. We all loved this big, fruity pinot with plenty of acidity and tannins to stand up to the dark fruit and berries.
Second bottle was the Hatcher 2004 Willamette Valley Oregon Pinot Noir. A more cool climate slightly more elegant pinot noir that we should have given the benefit to be the first bottle. Altough this was a nice bottle too, it had a hard time to stand up to the August West and we were therefore a little bit disappointed... We'll know better next time.
The wine list over all has a very reasonable mark up and I have to applaud the owners for that. The August West set us back $62, and in my local wine store the price is $45. I say that shows a pretty fair price for the restaurant.
If you live in the area or are passing by pay this new, modern lounge and restaurant a visit. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Check back soon as I will review the August West in more detail in the near future. I had to order half a case from my wine store the next day and it is coming in not to long...
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