Ella… again

What better way to spend Second Saturday in July than by a $30 prix fixe menu at Ella… combine that with 50% off 50 bottles of wine throughout July and I couldn’t get there fast enough!

Now I know you all probably think I sound like a broken record with my adulation for Selland’s restaurants, but I swear I don’t work for Randall! It’s just consistent, yummy food with excellent service. Feel free to check out earlier posts about The Kitchen and Ella. They’ve also just begun a rewards program, with all kinds of good reasons to join. If you are a frequent flyer of Selland’s restaurants, be sure to get one! For the skinny, go here. Now onto the evening!

Of course, oysters were the first thing on the table, but after that… bring on the prix fixe!

For the first course, these are the two options:

Organic yellow tomato bisque with fresh lime, a sprig of cilantro, slightly stewed cherry tomatoes, with house made cotija cheese stirred in. Oh-em-gee! It was served warm, and was completely yummy.

The other choice was country pork pate and leafy green salad with lettuce and grilled baguette. I did not try this, because of the meat aspect, so I can’t comment, but I’m sure it is fabulous!

For the entree, house made tagliatelle pasta with savoy cabbage, a handful of delicious button mushrooms (no, so NOT the generic kind you get at Safeway). Sitting atop this mound of perfectly prepared pasta is a poached farm egg. All of this is coated with a lemon butter sauce. The tiniest slices of chive swim around in there, too. This is a sibling of their famous pappardelle, but without the prosciutto… good for me, bad for all you pork belly fans out there! Mixing in the egg with the sauce brings completely new flavors and texture to your bite. The button mushrooms could not have been more delicious, too. Indeed, I pined for more ‘shrooms!

 

The other choice for an entree: fire roasted half chicken with caesar panzanella, grilled lemon and chicken jus. Had I been a meat eater, this is something I would’ve loved, I’m sure! I mean, come on… Yum!

For dessert, almond pavlova with grilled peaches and lemon verbena infused blackberries. (I love how you can tell this was a long, leisurely evening based on how the light changes in the photos!)

 

The other option: black forest cake, gianduja cherry cream and a spiced cherry jus.

Of the two of these, I think I may have preferred the almond pavlova, however the cake was also quite delicious.

And I forgot to mention, this is wonderfully bikeable. There are bike racks near on K and they also will check your helmets for you! (Yes, you should be wearing one!)

Bottom line, this is a FAB deal this month! Get thee to Ella with all haste!

 

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The Waterboy

Rick Mahan’s The Waterboy is a place I’ve visited a few times, but never felt it lived up to the hype. My most recent visit proved me wrong.

Placed right on the corner of 20th and Capitol, it is next door neighbors with Rubicon. (Insert: comic strip pane about them asking each other for a cup of sugar.) These two eateries are on the opposite ends of the scale, which is why they can be so close and still be successful.

On this night, it was an easy decision to check it out again, as the group I was with had never been there. I have always felt it’s a place you have to try at least once.

The first thing you see when you walk through the door is the bar. A great thing to greet you, in my opinion! While small, it accommodates a wide range of spirits and is where specialty cocktails are shaken, stirred, and otherwise poured.

After being seated, the server came round to introduce himself, tell us the specials, and put the bottle of prosecco we’d brought on ice, and the bottle of chardonnay in the cooler. Eating should be fun and when you’re with friends, the experience should be savored, enjoyed, and memorable… this visit was about three hours worth of memorable!

Our server didn’t hover, he wasn’t too absent, and let us take ample time to decide what we wanted. I’ve always thought that pacing, for a server and the kitchen, were art forms! I get annoyed when the entree comes out before I’m finished with the salad/soup/whatever. So the pacing here was wonderful.

We started with the necessary order of oysters. They kindly split up the dozen kumamotos into two plates without us even asking, which I felt was a nice touch.

After that, came deviled eggs. These are devilishly delicious! I absolutely love deviled eggs and was excited to try these. You have the option of adding shrimp to them, something I’d never heard of, but decided to have them the plain ol’ way. Well, these are not your grandmother’s deviled eggs with a sprinkling of McCormick’s paprika from a bottle. Oh no, The Waterboy has to do them up grand, with a rich, umami flavor that tasted like it came from anchovy paste. I think I could have gone hog wild on these and turned myself into one big egg.

Next was the corn soup. This was also sublime. The sweetness of the corn was matched perfectly with the ginger scallion butter drizzled on top.

Also on the table…

Baby Beet and Avodado Salad with watercress, cucumbers, shaved fennel, and a citrus drizzle.

Bitter Greens Salad, with walnuts, blue cheese, bacon, and crouton and balsamic dressing.

Sauteed Veal Sweetbreads with pork belly, a poached egg, and mushrooms.

For the main course, Seared Dayboat Scallops on a bed of tomato-saffron risotto with a bacon braised endive “roll,” with watercress, lemon & tarragon. The risotto was fabulous – rich, creamy, and al dente. My taste buds were incredibly happy with this!

The other dish was  called Mixed Grill of Quail and Crisp Pork Belly. This dish is not for the faint of heart! Wolfe Ranch quail stuffed with sweetbreads, leeks, pugliese & herbs with pork belly confit, grilled polenta, artichokes, cranberry beans & balsamico. Not only is that mouthful to say, I’m pretty sure it was a mouthful to eat! The couple splitting this said it was fabulous and very filling… I think they were very glad they ended up splitting it!

For dessert:

A chocolate mousse cake… chocolatey, chocolatey, chocolatey!

Bread pudding… without raisins! I completely loved this. It was sweet, spongy, served warm with a bit of vanilla ice cream on the side.

Bottom line, if you haven’t been to The Waterboy, just check it out! I am wondering about its consistency, but I”m pretty sure it won’t suck!

On another note, they also have cooking classes! Some friends have participated and not only had tons of fun, but learned quite a bit in the process.

Overall: 4.5/5
Ambience: 3.5/5 It’s not all that private, and the acoustics make it difficult to hear the server. The dining room wasn’t full on this visit, but it is, it might be challenging to hear people at your table.
Price: $$$$/5
Service: 4/5
Food: 4/5

http://www.waterboyrestaurant.com/
2000 Capitol Avenue
916.498.9891

https://www.facebook.com/WaterboyRestaurant
http://twitter.com/sac_waterboy