Recognized time and again as one of Sacramento's finest fish markets, Fins Market & Grill slaps down never-frozen filets of swordfish, salmon, mahi-mahi, and catfish. Catering to those looking to fill their own larders as well as those in search of a quick bite, the fishmongers preside over a menu of fish tacos, seafood salads and sandwiches, and hearty entrees with scalloped potatoes or rice pilaf as well as their brimming fish market. Flown in from across the country daily, the bistro's selection gives guests access to seafood freshness and diversity without the burden of living on a houseboat captained by Ernest Hemmingway.
After growing up in the Basilicata region of southern Italy and training in fine Florentine restaurants, Sergio Mirabelli exported his culinary talents to America. A year later, in 1995, he and his wife, Francesca, opened their first eatery on Oakland's restaurant row. Sergio's Steak and Seafood is the Mirabelli family's latest dining establishment?another outlet for the traditional cuisine of Sergio?s childhood. ?My family were hunters and we know how to cook game," Mirabelli told Art Garcia of the Folsom Telegraph. He and his Sicilian chef prove this daily by crafting specials built around wild game and fresh seafood in addition to housemade pasta and sauces.
Mirabelli and his wife typically roam the restaurant, greeting guests at the door and making people feel at home; Francesca has even started offering cooking classes where students can learn how to bake biscotti. And their gregarious personalities have won over customers and critics alike. The cozy eatery was ranked the No. 1 Folsom restaurant on TripAdvisor, and Mirabelli has appeared several times on CW 31 Good Day Sacramento's Dishin' With Tina. Even Sacramento magazine got in on the action, hailing the restaurant's "generous portions of lusty food" and old-style Italian ambiance, which is created in part by tapestries depicting scenic, Mediterranean-like landscapes, and in part by analysts predicting the fall of the Roman Empire.
Executive chef Christopher Mathew Headding knows the value of patience. When shipments of marbled Midwestern beef arrive at Chops Steak, Seafood & Bar, he doesn't trim them right away. Instead, he and his kitchen team hang the meat, pull up seats, and intently watch for the next 28 days as natural enzymes break down any toughness and flavor density builds. Once the beef hits the perfect color and firmness, Christopher gets up and trims the top sirloin, new york strips, and other cuts of steak by hand.
Such attention to detail pervades Chops Steak, Seafood & Bar at both its Folsom and Sacramento locations. Besides the aged steaks—which also include fillets wet aged up to 21 days—Christopher's team works with high-quality seafood, such as chinook salmon, australian lobster, and alaskan king crab. To complement these dishes, bartenders serve a selection of wines and signature cocktails, such as the Saint Bernard with Absolut Ruby Red vodka and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
Every day, fish are plucked from the ocean and delivered straight to the door of Scott's Seafood Folsom. They may fly hundreds of miles to get there, but that's just the first leg of the journey. Once in the kitchen, the fish are seasoned, grilled, fried, and poached by chefs who are known for their creative streak. Some of their more innovative preparations include swordfish coated in a spicy jerk seasoning and oysters topped with creamed spinach and Pernod, but they can also fry a beer-battered cod with the best of them. The bartenders are no slouches, either; their extensive drink menu includes wines from local vineyards, microbrews, dessert drinks, and chasers of fresh seawater.
Co-owners Christopher J. Rubino and Henry Carrillo Jr.—the original owners of Roseville's Bella Italia Bistro and Wine Bar—now train their eyes on Rocklin. Local publications and TV news programs have heaped multiple awards upon the eatery, which is designed to evoke the feel and taste of New York's Italian restaurants of the 40s and 50s.
Executive Chef Jesus Mendoza's plates present classic Italian dishes, such as spaghetti and meatballs, veal piccata, and chicken parmesan, and he pairs them with a wine list that spotlights California libations. Curtains and leather booths come together as an inviting dining room where guests savor their Continental lunches, Sunday brunches, and dinners. A banquet room accommodates larger groups, such as birthday parties and revolutionary movements. Mendoza and his team also cater.
Rubino's is guided not only by an old-fashioned sense of service and cuisine, but by a commitment to its community. In addition to belonging to the Rocklin and Roseville Chambers of Commerce, the establishment donates to local organizations, hosts benefits, and sponsors the Rocklin High School football team, whose cheerleaders wave pom-poms made of donated linguine.
A mural of a fire truck covers an entire wall at Firehouse Crawfish, a nod to the kitchen’s spice-measuring system, which classifies heat by “degrees” from zero to third and beyond. These spices and other seasonings flavor Firehouse’s signature seafood, from fried catfish to butterflied shrimp. The restaurant also serves shellfish such as shrimp, mussels, and its eponymous red and blue crawfish by the pound. Flat-screen televisions anchor the dining-room walls above retro-styled booths upholstered with plush red and white stripes.