the press bistro

9:24 AM sians 0 Comments

i wanted to explore other food scenes in california closer to sacramento because we can't always drive two hours to san francisco to try out new restaurants. hence, i expanded my search around downtown sacramento area and found the press bistro. it looked promising and i made a reservation weeks in advance.

doing what i usually do, my camera in hand and as ryan was confirming our reservation, i was taking some pictures of the restaurant. unexpectedly, the maitre'd asked if i was from the new york times. suprisingly, i felt a bit annoyed cos the first thought that came to mind was: is she mocking me? (yes, i'm slightly hypersensitive... i apologize) - well for one, if i was a food writer for a publication, i wouldn't be telling her, would i? don't most food writers remain anonymous to review a restaurant? ryan couldn't quite understand why i felt irritated. 

anywho, i did like the modern yet rustic decor that gave a cozy ambience to the restaurant. i also liked the ceiling high glass doors and windows as well as the outdoor seating, perfect for the summer weather.

ryan was super excited to see the potato gnocchi on the menu and was quite set on ordering that for appetizer only to be disappointed that they have just run out of it. he was pretty upset and took several minutes to get over the fact they didn't have any (he was really craving for some).

tapas :: roasted beets | goat cheese ($4)

i've always liked roasted beets and the classic pairing with goat cheese - in fact that's how i first fell in love with beets when i had it at purple pig. this dish was pale in comparison. i was missing the natural sweetness of the beets and it was a tad too salty. on top of that, the olive oil overpowered the beets and it lacked the balance.

appetizer :: grilled calamari | cherry tomatoes . panzanella salad ($8)

this was simple and fresh, executed with precision. i was impressed by the simplicity of this dish but yet so outstanding. call me bias - i do love seafood a lot. the calamari was grilled to perfection - smoky with  distinct grilled marks on the outside yet soft and tender, just almost undercooked but in a good way. lovely. it was lightly dressed with freshness of lemon juice accompanied with some chunks of bread and fresh produce easily emerged as my favorite of the night.

entree :: braised short rib | red wine sauce . mashed potatoes ($18)

when i fork into the piece of short rib, it looked promisingly tender - so i was quite surprised that it was not as melt-in-your-mouth as i imagined it would be. it was a little dry which  was quite the bummer but it was compensated by the smooth mashed potatoes and the delectable sauce was simply hearty and delicious. i was craving for more of the sauce since it was vital in the dish to moisten the meat.

entree :: grilled hanger steak | potato gratin . bordelaise ($20)

ryan had more luck with his choice of entree. medium rare steak just like he requested and it was seasoned, seared well and tender. the thing we had problem with was the potato gratin. i was fine with the bite of the potato slices but ryan preferred it to be cooked down a little more. however, we both agreed that it was lacking cheese in between the layers and i was hoping for a crisper topping.

we actually passed on dessert since we couldn't agree on one dessert and ended up picking up some ciao bella pistachio gelato from the store on the way back to his apartment.

one thing ryan said about the food at the press bistro that i thought was interesting was that he felt most of the dishes we tried, we could have probably make it at home ourselves. of course, i understand that relied heavily on what we ordered.

i suppose that could have been meant in a good or bad way - on the positive end, the food gave the comfort what homemade food usually offers. on the other side of the spectrum, the food wasn't all that inspiring. in general, i somewhat agree that while the food was hearty and good, nothing really stood out. well, okay.. that's not entirely true. the wonderful rendition of grilled calamari struck as the special exception.

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.

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