The Broiler Review by Kristen & Guy
The scene was perfectly set… all we were missing was a martini at the bar, and a cigar smoking gentleman dapperly dressed in his business attire. They say at the Broiler, it’s a step back in time to the Supper Club Era of Frank Sinatra and dry martini’s. The day we chose to visit happened to be a lovely Sacramento afternoon, so we opted for a quaint outdoor patio, along the pedestrian portion of K Street. Seated outside, we returned to the modern day downtown scene of business suits and bustling capitol staffers. Whether outside or in, the ambiance is enchanting and the food is just as hearty and memorable as you would imagine.
First a bit of history; the broiler has been a popular Sacramento steakhouse since 1950, and although the location has changed, they still proudly display the original ‘Broiler’ sign from its early days. It’s a place where many a business deal has been made, and several well known politicians have been spotted dining on their famous tender steaks.
As for me, well, I’m not a big meat eater. Okay, I’m not a steak eater at all. I haven’t touched the stuff since 1989. But I approached this dining experience knowing that any good steakhouse also has good fish options and they did, indeed. Their non-steak house specialties include fettuccine pasta, whiskey caramelized salmon, cornmeal crusted catfish, peppercorn-crusted ahi and duck, lobster, risotto and more. My indecision led me to skip the entrees entirely and sample from both their ‘starter’ and their ‘salad’ menu- a great way of trying more when you’re dining in the company of folks who don’t share.
I started with the portabella mushroom and bay shrimp appetizer, which was larger then the entrée at some fine dining establishments. It was a good sized mushroom heaping with shrimp and sprinkled with goat cheese, black pepper, and sherry vinaigrette: An amazing combination of delicate spring flavors and hearty portabella mushroom.
The salad I chose was the ‘smoked salmon and watercress’. It was light and large: Another good-sized serving of simply prepared vinaigrette, sweet red onion, polenta croutons, and smoked salmon. After eating the starter and the salad, I was full. But why stop there when you’ve got ‘The Godfather’ on the way?
The kingpin of all dessert options, the Godfather was a mountainous ice cream pie oozing with hot fudge. While it would be my top pick any day of the week, I must admit, the other two desserts we shared (a pear tart and crème brulee) were both delectable and very do-again-able.
The Broiler was a wonderful lunch destination, but would be a perfect special dinner before a night at the theatre or a show downtown.
As a Sacramentan, you owe it to yourself to try out the new restaurants that have been popping up all over the region the past couple of years. But when sampling the newer venues, don't forget our city's "tried and true" restaurants - those places that contribute to the history of Sacramento, such as The Broiler. The Broiler has been a favorite with the courthouse crowd since it debuted in 1950. Fast forward 57 years and the place is still known as Sacramento's definitive steakhouse. True, the location has changed (a mere two blocks to its current site at 1201 K Street), but the menu, recipes and staff, not to mention the stories and memories, have kept the flavor of the "old" Broiler alive. And don't fret--the famous and beloved original Broiler sign hangs over the new entrance.
During a recent lunch date, Kristen and I decided to try out the classic dining experience of The Broiler while enjoying the current ambiance of their patio. Our well-informed waitress, Shelley suggested some very delicious-sounding specials, but since this is Sacramento's premiere steakhouse, then that's what I was going to have! The filet mignon, cooked to order, was wonderful: tender and flavorful. I ate every morsel. Served with traditional Irish colcannon mashed potatoes (a mixture complimented by cabbage, butter and onions) and a side of vegetables, my meal was delightful. I was a proud member of the "Clean Plate Club" that day. For a salad before your meal, I suggest the baby spinach salad (tossed with bacon, button mushrooms, candied walnuts, blue cheese and balsamic dressing) and for dessert after your meal, the crème brulee -so good I didn't let Kristen have one single spoonful.
I highly recommend The Broiler for lunch or dinner (or lunch and dinner!) But don't listen to me- five generations of satisfied diners can't be wrong.