Tank House-Dumb Name, Rad Grub

TankHouse_TexturedRVIt may come as a surprise to you, but the small restaurant footprint on J at 20th has gone through three iterations in the last few years. I know, you didn’t even notice. You were totally unaware that a place named “Had’s” strolled in there in 2011 and was gone by Inauguration Day. And honestly, we saw it coming even if you didn’t. Had’s? Really? What kind of a name was that? And the cursive script it was written in made us ask ourselves “Is the place called Shad’s? or Had’s? Of Ffad’s?…Fuck it, we’re not eating there.”

Before that, it was a sushi place so memorable that no one can remember its name. Sushi Place? Sushi Joint? Sushi Sushi? It was something awesomely memorable like that. They apparently served the best edamame you can get on that block of J Street.

Well, some new intrepid restaurateurs have rebranded the place and gone for broke with the surefire restaurant formula of the decade, artisinal/basic/comfort/hipster/fattening. It’s working for LowBrau, it’s working for grilled cheese trucks, it’s working everywhere. Perhaps it’ll work for the new occupiers of 1925 J Street, Tank House.

If nothing else, it’s tough to forget the name, mostly because it has nothing to do with anything, and I occasionally mistakenly call it Tank Farm, confusing it for the street in San Luis Obispo, but people still know what I’m talking about. The food is pretty simple, barbecue, backed up by high-quality local ingredients, backed up further by a good bar.

The brisket was awesome last time I tried it, the ribs good, the greens out of this greeniverse, and the mac and cheese (despite the inanely shaped pasta that looks more like a bottle brushes than traditional elbows) is scrumptious, especially when smoked chicken is rolled into the mix.

Orders are taken at the bar, pub style. And there’s nothing wrong with that except the service is surly, no other word for it. Surly. I’m not taking the future Mrs. Eats there any time soon to be glared at by bearded hipster ruffians, but I’d take a friend with a penis there anytime for a few brews and some barbecue. The inside is cozy and full of some beautiful wood, the outdoor patio way nicer than it should be.

If they can find the coin to hire a friendly server or two it would turn the place into a dining paradise. Or at least a decent place for the kind of date night that doesn’t include shaving.

Tank House- 1925 J St, 431.7199.

Food ***1/2  Service *  Atmosphere ***

6 thoughts on “Tank House-Dumb Name, Rad Grub”

  1. I actually went there yesterday and was pretty impressed. The bartender/server was a young, friendly, brunette gal who took our orders promptly with a smile. I may have had a somewhat inverse experience because I was a little underwhelmed by the brisket. It was fairly fatty, had hardly any smoke ring and the portion wasnt all that large. But it was fairly tasty. The star for me was the sides. The loaded tots, greens (kale and ?) and the ultra tasty beans were all amazing. I’ll def go back.


  2. In regards to the name, their Google+ site states, “Site of the oldest water tank in Sacramento, the restaurant’s historic water tank was built in 1881.” …so not random and actually preserves some local history as it relates to the rail line running directly behind the restaurant.

    Although, when reading your piece, my initial thought was that it was a bar to get tanked at, which isn’t that bad either.


  3. I’m pretty sure you could get sushi in Sacramento a century or so ago, but only in Japantown. As to the “oldest water tank in Sacramento” thing, I’m pretty sure that is hooey (the railroad behind the building wasn’t built until about 1908, and there were plenty of water tanks in Sacramento older than 1881) but Tank House has already become my go-to BBQ place.


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