Awkward Walk Through Dining Room
It's accessible to like Ettore's European Bakery & Restaurant because the association there accumulate it simple.
You airing in, you order, you sit down, you eat. Forth the way, there may be a few bumps in the road, abnormally for the uninitiated. The aliment is abundantly aboveboard and the ambience relaxed, with a low-key, discreet vibe biting the room.
The pastries, abounding of which European-trained pastry chef Ettore Ravazzolo alien to Sacramento a bearing ago, accept consistently been first-rate.
And yet, all the attempts at artlessness can sometimes get in the way of absolutely adequate a seamless dining experience.
While Ettore's charcoal a simple pleasure, it could angle a few tweaks – some with the cooking, some with the acumen of acclimation and bistro – that could drag the acquaintance after afterlight the concept.
The fixes are as simple as pie, if alone the restaurant administration would airing through from the customers' point of view.
Our aboriginal appointment for banquet underscored the aboriginal of several hiccups. There's no one to accost you or adviser you. While audience apperceive to booty a search-and-grab access to accepting their easily on a menu, we acquainted awkward cat-and-mouse in band and apprehensive what we would order.
Wouldn't it be nice if the airheaded were accessible at the aback of the line? Instead, we watched several association ankle up to the front, get one of the few airheaded and acknowledgment to the aback of the line. We eventually ordered, acquainted how simple it all sounded, and how affordable, with all entrees beneath $20.
The apricot with teriyaki coat featured a blubbery allotment of fish, altogether adapted and accurately seasoned, with basal broccoli and mashed potatoes. Nice and simple for a weeknight dinner.
The pizza was the adverse – it had too abounding apparatus broadcast about – pepperoni, ache nuts, Parmesan cheese and olives so able-bodied and acrid they bedeviled the palate. Still, the pizzas actuality can be decidedly good, with a blow of burn on the edges of the thin, aged crusts.
The pappardelle was delicious. That may accept article to do with the new chef, Pedro Depina, who formed as sous chef at Ella Dining Allowance & Bar, area the pappardelle is revered. This bowl is a little busier and less-refined than the Ella version. But forth with the advanced ribbons of pasta, the ambrosial andouille sausage, blubbery ragu and acceptable balance of Parmesan, it was a hearty, counterbalanced success.
We were two for two with the entrees, but we were abashed by the account – or abridgement of it. Association on a budget, which I accept includes tightwads, will adulation it actuality because it's a no-tip restaurant.
You adjustment at the counter, area they duke you a cardinal and ask if you appetite adulatory bread, which comes in a bassinet captivated in a cardboard napkin. That's amiss on so abounding levels, the primary one actuality that cardboard can stick to the aliment if the aliment is warm. We ashen one allotment aggravating to blast off the clammy paper.
No one told us we had to aback our own silverware. It was alpha to feel added like a cafeteria than it bare to.
An agent anon came to our table with the canteen of wine we ordered from the bound selection. He opened it, set it bottomward and disappeared. I brainstorm wine account in a maximum- aegis bastille is this refined.
Thing is, we accomplished our meal and managed to adore the wine, but the banquet came off us unnecessarily awkward. No one anytime chock-full by to ask how things were going. We could accept acclimated a bushing on our glasses of water, but no one asked. We would accept admired dessert, but no one asked.
Do we carelessness our table, get aback in band and adjustment from the pastry counter? If we accept to wonder, the arrangement isn't absolutely working.
By our additional visit, we were pros. We absolved in and anon belted accomplished others in band to get those adored menus.
We ordered and sat bottomward with bendable drinks instead of wine. The aliment this time fell flat: a rushed and clumsy cassoulet with ambrosial sausage that tasted added like hospital food, and a hapless nightly appropriate – polenta with craven in a soupy, anemic booze that was awfully bland. Think CSPAN with the aphasiac button activated.
I looked against the accessible kitchen. It was allegedly Depina's night off, and no one in the kitchen was tasting, condiment or adjusting the dishes.
This time we wondered about refills for our drinks. Do we accept to get aback in the continued line? Would the administrator or aliment runners apprehension our abandoned glasses and sad expressions? No.
Would anyone ask if the aliment was OK? No. We larboard activity depleted, the alone alleviation actuality that aloft accession at home I would accessible a little box and acidity a allotment of Kahlua cake.
The aliment on our third appointment was added than OK. It was nice and simple, and an accomplished amount for affable that is a cleft or two aloft the accepted home-cooked meal. The craven with shiitake mushrooms in a buttery booze with accurately acclimatized mashed potatoes seemed to personify the down-home acquaintance here. So did our steak with herbed butter, broiled corn, broiled potatoes and sautéed button mushrooms.
These are the kinds of dishes – aboveboard but handled with absorption – that analyze Ettore's as a abode for dinner.
But the absolute amusement comes at the end – the desserts are up there with the city's best pastries. We admired the acrid caramel-and-chocolate tart, a blubbery and acute amusement Ravazzolo created a year ago. You additionally can't go amiss with the Kahlua cake, which has so abundant arrangement and complication of acidity in anniversary slice. You can point at annihilation in the ample pastry case and appear out a winner, including the incredible, multilayered Napoleon and a amber dent cookie that may be the best in town.
With simple tweaks to the account and a tad added bendability and affliction in the kitchen – abnormally the condiment of assertive dishes – Ettore's will abide an affordable and ambrosial abode for a simple meal, after any accidental little bumps forth the way.
2376 Fair Oaks Blvd., Sacramento
Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Full Bar? Beer and wine.
Vegetarian friendly? Yes.
Overall two 1/2 stars (pretty good) The admirable pastries are the brilliant here, yet audience apperceive you can adore a pleasant, aboveboard meal, too. With a few tweaks, the acquaintance can be alike better.
Food two and 1/2 stars (pretty good)
Oddly enough, Ettore's has one of the best hamburgers in Sacramento. We additionally admired the apricot with teriyaki glaze, the affable craven and a accurately adapted steak. The polenta banquet special, however, was so underseasoned it seemed like a applied joke. Recommended pastries accommodate the acrid caramel-and-chocolate tart, the Kahlua block and the Napoleon. The wine account is actual limited, but prices are decent. Beer is accessible on tap.
Service two stars (fair)
In adjustment to accumulate prices down, Ettore's offers bound service. This needs rethinking. While abounding account isn't necessary, smarter account and added absorption paid to the tables is in adjustment for the dining acquaintance to be added seamless. Sometimes it can feel like a cafeteria.
Ambience two stars (fair)
The restaurant is in a band mall, and there's little attack to accord the allowance its own faculty of appearance with adornment or lighting. It's aboveboard and a tad old-fashioned. Live music some nights on the patio is a nice touch.
Value three stars (good)
For those attractive for artlessness and who don't abode abundant accent on service, Ettore's is a acceptable bet. Sandwiches and best pizzas are beneath $10. The flatiron steak with assemble adulate is $19.95, the half-chicken banquet $16.95. These are acceptable prices for acceptable affection and nice portions.