On pearly white plates, heaping Angus burgers arrive steaming on their sturdy rolls alongside crispy fixings. It’s also not uncommon for bacon, guacamole, and pastrami to find their way onto Jasper’s specialty burgers, which are often accompanied by crispy French fries and hand-scooped milk shakes on the side. Chicken, beef, and lamb gyros are heaped high, while housemade dark chocolate baklava satisfies sweet tooths. In the retro dining room, eaters slip into old-fashioned leather booths or twirl atop brushed steel stools as they enjoy those and other sizzling, old-fashioned drive-in-style favorites. Since taking over in 2012, new owner Sam has made a point of sweetening up the menu with his family’s secret recipe for Jubilee Everything Cake. Diners can also satisfy dessert needs with cupcakes shaped like miniature burgers that are actually made of moist cake, served with cake “fries,” and dusted with sugar and red icing “ketchup.”
The chefs at Sushi Unlimited combine their eye for artistry with fresh ingredients to create sushi rolls and hearty entrees. Their signature rolls pay homage to elements of nature as well as local sports teams. For instance, chefs pack the Raiders roll with deep-fried shrimp and spicy tuna before hacking it into pieces with a cutlass and serving it on a wooden plank. As for traditional cooked dishes, the culinary team charbroils fresh salmon steaks for teriyaki plates and deep-fries tempura-style shrimp and vegetables.
At the Davis location, a red accent wall behind the bar vivifies the selection of Japanese sake and beer. The Folsom restaurant boasts a marble-topped sushi bar and wooden columns painted in a whimsical purple. Dotted with flat-screen televisions, the Roseville location has a casual vibe.
When sushi chef Kenro-San moved to America in the 1970s, he toted along his sushi-rolling acumen and a veteran's flair for traditional Japanese delicacies. Now, behind a marble, L-shaped sushi bar, his agile hands interlace yellowtail, unagi, and Spanish mackerel with crunchy cucumbers and avocados, creating fresh nigiri and robust maki rolls. The dining room's suspended lamps cast light upon Japanese figurines and paintings, and illuminate Kenro-San's thinly sliced beef dishes, crispy tempuras, and soba-noodle soups, the latter of which are comforting enough to console an uprooted weeping willow.
Thai Jasmine Restaurant's chefs bring advanced skills, honed at a restaurant in Thailand, as they dish up a bounteous menu of traditional and modern Thai favorites, with spice levels calibrated to each guest's preference. Diners can send a letter of intent down the esophagus with starters such as steamed thai dumplings—wontons filled with ground chicken, shrimp, crab meat, mushrooms, and cilantro, then dished with savory roasted garlic and seated atop a sweet-soy-sauce dunk tank ($6.95). Well-spiced curry selections come with a choice of add-ins, from faux duck to mixed seafood, and pad khing, a fresh ginger stir-fry, hits the pan along with yellow and green onions, as well as three types of mushrooms competing for the affections of a suave black-bean sauce ($8.95–$13.95; varies by protein). Chefs immerse moo yang, or barbecue pork, in thai spices and mixed herbs before charcoal-broiling it and nestling it atop a bed of lettuce with sweet-and-sour sauce ($8.95). Seated at granite-topped tables, diners slurp up noodle dishes loaded with shrimp, squid, or mixed sea eats ($10.95–$13.95) and gaze admiringly over sumptuous Thai sculptures and artwork.
Voted Sacramento Magazine's best shabu-shabu restaurant in 2010, Shabu Japanese Fondue is named after its signature menu item, shabu-shabu—a dish that is cooked and eaten at the table. After submerging delicate slices of meat, seafood, or vegetables into a bubbling pot of savory, housemade broth, diners stir up the contents in order to cook the ingredients. This stirring action results in a "swish, swish," or "shabu-shabu," sound.
Guests can enjoy this style of dining while perched on white bar stools at a community table or at individual tables. Each table has a metal hole in the middle where the hot shabu-shabu pots sit or whack-a-moles hide, waiting to surprise guests.
Traditional meets contemporary at Nishiki Sushi: Chefs concoct classic sashimi and nigiri from fresh seafood, such as yellowtail, scallops, and freshwater eel, and they’ve also whipped up more than three dozen innovative specialty rolls. For instance, the Buddha roll has soft-shell-crab tempura wrapped into a tight spool and drizzled with a duet of homemade sauces. The Treasure roll adds a Southern twist—it has barbecue sauce splashed across scallops and comes served on top of a William Faulkner novel. The kitchen team also prepares what they call "Japanese comfort food"—entrees such as ramen noodles, chicken teriyaki, and unagi don, a barbecued freshwater-eel dish.