All-day decadence

Mimosa House

Good for: New Orleans-inspired snacks—booze and all
Notable dishes: Louis Armstrong, petit po’boy and chicken & waffle bites

Mimosa House

5641 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95819

(916) 400-4084

Above Mimosa House’s doorway exit, a sign bids goodbye: “Welcome to East Sacramento.” The sign could just as easily appear above the entrance. The restaurant looks like a Pinterest board of East Sacramentans’ fantasies for their own home décor, with a stately fireplace and large marquee letters of “MH.”

A trendy chalkboard-style wall broadcasts the real reason everyone is here: champagne and fun. Inspirational quotes offer handy excuses to drink: “Champagne is ALWAYS the answer,” “I love this champagne diet.” It’s “self-help” with a silly wink-wink; we all know this is self-destructive but delightful.

In that spirit, the best way to start brunch at Mimosa House is with a sampler of mimosas ($13.95) in three wacky flavors. Choose your pick from dozens of strange options, including Jolly Rancher, Margarita Pom Pom and Bull—short for Red Bull. Much subtler than it sounds, the Jolly Rancher has a slight tartness to balance the alcohol. The Naked Cupid tastes rich and thick with strawberries and lemon, but isn’t too syrupy.

The secret to those well-balanced cocktails? A custom sparkling wine made just for Mimosa House. Named D7 Family Brut ($25 a bottle) after chef Devin Dedier, the sparkling wine turns up the yeast and dials down the sugar to balance well with fruit juices and things like, well, Red Bull.

Mimosa House comes from the same family as the Early Toast restaurants in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, but it offers a more dressed-up space and formal dinner menu. El Dorado offers tacos and burgers, and no happy hour, while Roseville closes at 3 p.m. The East Sacramento restaurant takes its concepts a step further.

Cajun-inspired dishes make a strong appearance on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, including Louis Armstrong—not the trumpeter, but a dinnertime dish of jambalaya ($15) with garlicky and umami flavors infused throughout the rice. The onions are crisped with spicy, salty edges that play off the watery burst of tomatoes. Despite a generous helping of Cajun-spiced shrimp, sausage and shredded chicken, the dish falls short from greatness because it’s a tad too salty.

Whatever you do, avoid the pizza. The classic margherita ($12) came out lukewarm, with tough dough and lifeless marinara sauce. The mozzarella was compressed into the texture of flabby rubber, and a whole basil leaf was crisped until flavorless. It looked like a delicious New York-style pie, and hopefully its flavor will inch closer to that mark over time.

The best time to visit might be happy hour (Monday to Saturday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). The tavern feels cozy by the fire or the full bar, and not too crowded. Bar bites offer an affordable, hefty snack, and the mimosas are only $4 a pop.

On the happy hour menu, the chicken and waffle bites ($9) came out with tepid Belgian waffles. Still, their pillowy texture and dusted sugar added a satisfying contrast to the crispy fried chicken sandwiched in the middle. Drizzled with syrup and hiding pockets of melted butter, the two sandwiches—much larger than mere “bites”—offer a sweet way to start happy hour.

On the savory side, the po’boy petit ($10) fared better, its bread suffused with butter, but still toasted firmly. Remoulade and lemon-flavored fried shrimp complemented the intense garlic flavor of the rolls, but the shrimp were nothing to write home about on their own.

Compared to other brunch joints in town, Mimosa House offers more frivolity. If you’re after the best egg dishes in the neighborhood, Orphan Breakfast House offers more sophistication. Otherwise, keep your eye on the prize of self-indulgence to navigate Mimosa House’s super-sized menu. Soon you, too, could love this champagne diet.