Esquire Grill: American as Apple Compote

Eat AmericanSometimes you just feel like a good “date” dinner, the kind of dinner where you sit for a few hours, chatting, eating, sipping wine, chatting more, eating more, sipping more wine, chatting a little louder, eating too much, slurping wine, hooting and laughing and disrupting others’ dinners, etc.  So to that end, on a recent Saturday night, Mrs. Eats and I found ourselves entering Esquire Grill.  Now I had never actually sat down to a full meal at the ‘Squire before– drinks sure, appetizers definitely, dessert absolutely–but never a full snout to tail meal.  This was to be one of those splurging nights; with a two-for-one coupon and a $50 gift certificate, we figured that we could go pretty crazy and still be not break the bank.

What were my expectations, you ask?  Good question.  This is what I went in already knowing about Esquire Grill: 1) It is the crown jewel (or at least the most ornate belt buckle) in the regalia that is the Paragary Restaurant Group (PRG).  2) It’s one of Arnold’s favorite eateries.  Apparently, he loves it more than getting to make out with Emma Thompson in “Twins.”  3)  On most afternoons and nights, the place is filled with more suits than the Men’s Wearhouse, being a top spot for lobbyists and political suckerfish of all kinds.

The night we chose to go, the main dining room was more than half empty.  Being both a holiday weekend and having no show playing at the community center, there was little to draw in diners on a Saturday night.  This turned out to be in our favor as we received top-notch, attentive service by the whole staff in a relaxed, subdued environment.  Oh, it was subdued except for the bachelorette party two tables away that ordered large martini-like drinks for every course of their meal.  They departed about halfway through our meal, stumbling out into the street looking for the nearest tattoo parlour.   Somewhere out there is a lucky man who, for his own sake, better like permed hair and tramp stamps.

On to the food.  Most of the dishes looked traditional on the page, petrale sole, ribeye, grilled salmon and all the other usual suspects.  Reading further into the descriptions, I found that the preparations were indeed as traditional as they looked.  You know what I think about that?  RAD!  (and I don’t use “rad” lightly)  I was pretty damn excited.  Whether you realize it or not, the “traditional” American restaurant is disappearing faster than the handlebar moustache.  With the rise of fusion, ethnic, ethnic-fusion, fuso-ethnic, and ethno-meso-vego-tarkanian eateries, traditional American fare has been pushed to the side.  Think about it, there are simply very few quality establishments that champion traditional American fare anymore.  Seeing this, Mrs. Eats and I both had one thought, “steak.”

I opted for a ribeye, she for the filet.  We started our meals with a recommended wine and small salads.  My mixed green woefully paled next to her sumptuous tomato and mozzarella salad, like Richie next to Fonzie, but the tables were turned when she spied my goat cheese smeared crustini that doubled as a crouton.  Then came the entrees.  Both were ridiculously, patrioticly good–my ribeye tender and perfectly grilled, with an indulgent side of bacon cheddar mashed potatoes and a relish of tomatoes, corn and black-eyed peas (to call this a relish is a bit demeaning), my wife’s filet buttery and flavorful, served up with butter-soaked baked red potatoes.  This was unapologetic American cooking.  Meat, potatoes, veggies, grilled, fried, served, devoured.

To call us happy would be a sad understatement.  We were bursting with Northean gouts of joy, dizzily consuming cow, spuds and wine unabashedly.  How could you not end this meal with dessert?  We opted for the banana cream pie which, considering the kick-you-in-the-crotch fantasticness of the rest of the meal, was simply average.

When the bill came, we thought there might have been a mistake.  Even with the two-for-one and the $50 gift card, the bill, after tipping, was still over $100.  Oh well, it was worth it to see the beautiful smile on my wife’s face as we shared an evening together laughing, eating, drinking and letting the stresses of everyday life vanish.  As far as a “date” dinner goes, I couldn’t have wished for better.  Let’s hear it for love, American style!

Esquire Grill- 1213 K St, Sacramento

Food**** Service**** Atmosphere*** (if this place had a piano player, it would have 4 star atmosphere)

2 thoughts on “Esquire Grill: American as Apple Compote”

  1. You make me want to drive to Sacramento to pay too much for steak, man! I’m a big fan of the simple rib eye, a leftover from my days at Mr. Steak (I found your blog by googling Mr. Steak, and commented on an old post, then came to check out what’s new wit’ you). This is a great review, and I’ve been to places like this, where even with a coupon and a gift certificate, it’s EXPENSIVE!

    Luckily, my husband knows how to grill up the perfect Rib Eye at home, (and a good one still costs a pretty penny at the grocery store, and don’t let Safeway tell you their Ranchers Reserve is any good, because it’s CRAP), or I’d be broke from places like this. Still…every once in awhile, you gotta pay too much and go get a fancy shmancy steak and potato. Mmmm.

    One question…did they charge you extra for the potato and veggie? That’s my pet peeve when I’m shelling out $40 for a steak…the $6 potato.

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  2. The potatoes and the side “relish” were part of the entree price, but had we ordered additional veggies like asparagus or string beans it would have been an extra $4 or so.
    One thing to mention is that some of the fish and chicken entrees are under $20, so it’s not necessary to break the bank on every visit to the ‘Squire.

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