Captivating American fare in Carmichael

The Patriot

Good for: Upscale date dining for the jeans-and-T-shirt crowd
Notable dishes: Roasted half chicken, savory monkey bread

The Patriot

6241 Fair Oaks Blvd.
Carmichael, CA 95608

(916) 817-9917

Carmichael’s Milagro Center has become a hotbed for high-end fare, a fact that’s accentuated by the August opening of The Patriot, the culinary market’s new casual-yet-fine-dining restaurant. With a vast open layout, an admirably stocked (and gorgeous) bar and a menu that impresses without pretense, The Patriot is a timely addition to Carmichael’s up-and-coming dining scene. Some might even say it’s leading the charge, giving the east-of-Watt crowd a dining option on par with Hook & Ladder and Hawks Public House.

With its menu grounded firmly in comforting new Americana sensibilities, The Patriot’s dishes span U.S. favorites from coast to coast: seafood to pizza to roaster-style meat. While I don’t normally appreciate a scattershot “everything under the sun” selection, I was surprised to find almost every option done very, very well. In fact, this is the first restaurant I’ve visited in a while where I’ve found it difficult to be critical.

For appetizers, the savory monkey bread ($11) is a wonderful first bite; salty cheese is woven into a yeasted, doughnut-like dough, and served with bacon jam on the side. While I was pretty “meh” on the dry, clumped texture of the jam, the monkey bread itself was the most popular thing on the table. The Short Rib Poutine ($12) was a close second, with a gorgeously rich sauce ladled over house french fries, the best I’ve eaten in a long time. This uber-hearty dish is the epitome of culinary comfort, though I would have liked to see more than two small pieces of actual short rib atop the fries.

My first entree, the Roasted Half Chicken ($18), was balanced between moist and well-cooked, with a fat layer of crispy, salty skin that made me seriously consider ordering the other half of the bird. The accompanying Red Skin Mash had the creamy texture I’m always looking for in mashed potatoes, with the still-present potato skins giving it just the right amount of texture. The Prime Rib French Dip ($18), essentially two big fistfuls of thin-sliced prime rib piled into a crusty baguette, left me nearly breathless between its perfectly tender texture and generous slathering of horseradish aioli.

My only complaint would be The Patriot’s “artisan pizza.” I was surprised to find our Pizza Margherita ($13) heavily brushed with garlic oil—not what I look for in a Margherita, which is supposed to shine with its minimalist approach. The crust had a somewhat spongy, pita-like texture. In fact, it felt more like a flatbread than a pizza. A quick whiff of slightly burnt oil wafted upward whenever I took a bite, along with an occasional phantom fennel flavor I couldn’t place, presumably due to someone not cleaning their knife before slicing the pizza.

Overall, I had almost zero complaints about The Patriot. If you’re in Carmichael, I highly suggest you go there … now. And if you’re in Sac proper, rolling your eyes at a potential trek to the other side of the river, don’t be that guy or gal who misses out because you’re not willing to brave the 12.2 miles from Midtown for a stellar meal.