If youâ€™re a cooking or eating enthusiast in Sacramento, Taylorâ€™s Market has probably been on your radar for a while. Known for its absolutely top-notch selection of produce, meats, and wine, Taylorâ€™s has wowed the locals in Land Park and surrounding neighborhoods for years. So, if Taylor’s new restaurant — cleverly called Taylor’s Kitchen (turns out that “Taylor’s Market Restaurant Kitchen Counter Bistro Cafe” was already taken) — didn’t cut the Mendocino mustard, it’d be a shock to almost everyone who cares about these things.
Thankfully, very few people have been disappointed (other than those insufferables who just love to hate on restaurants), so all is good in the fragile environmnet of Land Park.
Part wine bar, part open kitchen, and part neighborhood bistro, Taylorâ€™s Kitchen is putting out great seasonal food that stands up to the lofty reputation already achieved by itâ€™s namesake market. Chef John Masia has put together an intriguing and ever-changing menu that manages to highlight ingredients at their seasonal best while also showing off the talents of his capable kitchen staff.
The menu is pretty much spot-on with some of the freshest, most indulgent dishes that Iâ€™ve had the pleasure of consuming in recent memory. A pancetta wrapped pork chop served with a cherry and red onion marmalade alongside caramelized onion scalloped potatoes wins the award for culinary indulgence. The pork chop is perfectly prepared, moist and tender, the thin pancetta lending a salty and rich note to every bite, while the scalloped potatoes push the dish to elegantly gluttonous heights.
Another standout is the quail special, which pairs two delicately prepared quails with a honey and grape jus laced with pancetta. As a diner, you might be inclined to delicately use your knife and fork to pull apart the tiny bird, but trust me, itâ€™s well worth it to go medieval and use your hands to get at the rich birdy flesh. Served alongside is a porcini mushroom couscous that pairs wonderfully with the quail. Unfortunately, on one of my visits the couscous was served undercooked to the point of being crunchy. When this was brought to our serverâ€™s attention however, she quickly fetched a properly prepared serving and it was heavenly.
Since the menu changes frequently, you might find these or other offerings to delight the senses, but if you see the tuna carpaccio or the scallop appetizer, move on down the line as they’re not the best fare to indulge one’s appetites on.
Desserts, however, kick epic glute. A buttermilk panna cotta and frozen chocolate mousse both titillate and titillate (tell me that you don’t like the word titillate, come on, i dare ya), the panna cotta soft and subtle with a side of still-life perfect blackberries, while the frozen mousse, not exactly the prettiest the prettiest thing to look at being a cold chunk of brown goop, still would satisfy any chocolate loverâ€™s desires.
Keeping up with its reputation for fine wines, the kitchenâ€™s wine list is both creative and affordable. While not overly extensive, the offerings bring together local and international wines with most offerings being in the $30-a-bottle range. Beer is also pretty limited, with only two beers on tap, but both â€“ Scrimshaw Pilsner and Red Seal Ale — are excellent, coming from North Coast Brewery in Mendocino.
The small, cozy space Taylorâ€™s Kitchen occupies is made even cozier by the wonderfully warm service. From servers to cooks, all are friendly, accommodating, knowledgeable, and, if all reports are true, great in the sack (I made that last part up). Go, eat, be full.
Taylor’s Kitchen- 2924 Freeport, Sacramento
Food ***1/2 Service *** Atmosphere ***