Bistro Michel: The happiest of happy hours

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Sacramento’s Downtown, Bistro Michel doles out French-inspired yumminess and one heck of a happy hour. To call it a happy hour would actually be a misnomer as the allotted period of discounted drinks and affordable small plates runs the usual pre-dinner hours during the week and all day on Fridays.

Other than the reasonably priced martinis, beers, and wines that one can acquire, the real highlight of the extended happy hour is the small-plate menu. Start with duck confit cigars – phyllo-wrapped tubes of anatine goodness with a tart plum dipping sauce alongside. The dish combines some of my favorite things: duck, phyllo, and deep-frying. I nearly broke into song a la Julie Andrews the first time I tried them.

Chase those ducky delights with a plate of absolutely scrumptious deviled eggs. Loaded with capers, mustard, vinegar, and bacon, these tasty wonders will disappear from the plate before the waiter leaves the table.

Still hungry? Go for a plate of exceptional tater tots, or a dish of truffled fries, either will go perfectly with Michel’s incredible sangria. Less a syrupy punch and more a fruity adult beverage topped with champagne, this sangria might very well be the best in town. And it is beautifully presented with a slice each of lemon and ripe mission fig

The full menu? It’s filled with French-inspired treats and reasonably priced, creative dinner fare. It is also, however, still being tinkered with, and by the date of this publication may have been completely overhauled. The happy hour treats, on the other hand, should remain fairly consistent, if for no other reason than they are wildly popular with almost everyone who tastes them.

Just steps from the Capitol and the bustle that surrounds it, Bistro Michel manages to seem like a calm oasis on a sleepy neighborhood street corner. Taking the space formerly occupied by Gaylord (14th& O), its large windows face the quiet, nearly traffic-free street, and the few outdoor tables make for a relaxing al fresco experience. Owners also hope to turn the currently unused portion of the restaurant into a separate wine and cheese shop. Keep an eye out for this little gem on your travels Downtown.

Bistro Michel
1501 14th St, Sacramento

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