City of brunch
On the best brunch dishes in Sacramento
Sacramento loves it some brunch. Come Sunday morning, it enjoys nothing more than rolling out of bed and into a loose-fitting sundress, and eating something doused in hollandaise, while taking swipes at its hangover with a bottomless mimosa.
There's something magical about this meal that convinces you you're doing something productive with your day—something that amounts to more than what it really is, which is consuming decadent food in a quantity that would be depressing on a Monday, but is somehow respectable on a Sunday. Come 2 p.m., you may be wobbly kneed and salt-swollen from too many Bloody Marys, but it's your right as a brunching citizen of Sacramento, and hardly anyone is going to judge you for it. It may result in you spending the rest of the day lying supine on the couch watching baseball instead of writing an article that's due first thing the next morning, but so goes the miracle of Sunday brunch: Guilt weighs less in the wake of a breakfast burrito the size of a small dog.
Indeed, Sacramento is a brunch city, and we've got the waiting lists to prove it (Tower Cafe, you tease). I've almost never met an eggs Benedict I didn't get along with, but Tuli Bistro's (2031 S Street) version is top-notch, as is the king-crab benny at Mama Kim Eats (1616 Del Paso Boulevard).
Orphan Breakfast House's (3440 C Street) soy chorizo breakfast is so good, I don't even get sad that it's not real chorizo.
Elixir Bar & Grill (1815 10th Street) dishes a mean Spam fried rice, and if you've never experienced the hubbub of eating dim sum on a Sunday at New Canton Restaurant (2523 Broadway), all five of your senses are missing out. The choices in and around downtown are many and sundry, and whatever the reasons for Sacramento's low self-esteem, brunch shouldn't be one of them.
The most recent addition to the scene is Capital Dime, in the spot where L Wine Lounge & Urban Kitchen used to be (1801 L Street, Suite 50). The restaurant opened quietly about two weeks ago, and by the time I got there, around 1:30 p.m. on this particular Sunday, the crowd had thinned to a handful of tables. The back patio, surrounded on all sides by the 1801 L apartments, is not exactly scenic, but it is massive, which bodes well for Dime morphing into a bustling brunch spot. Because, really, brunch is an outdoor sport.
The restaurant itself, both inside and out, exhibits the same minimal, urban-chic aesthetic of its predecessor, designed, one might assume, to let the food be the focal point. As for the food, a slightly hangover-queasy stomach convinced me to order the cheese fries with lardons to begin. Rather than the melted cheddar one might expect, the fries were drizzled with a cheesy béchamel-like sauce, and sizable hunks of lardon played companion; the fries themselves were crisp and singular, the product of consideration rather than a lazy succumbing to a potato and fry cutter.
For the main event, I ordered a croque-madame and stole bites of my companion's City Eggs Benedict, both of which were strong showings of the traditional dishes, while we eavesdropped on a couple utterly confounded by a dish that paired melon with mozzarella. They went on to gently chide their server on the importance of communication. It's times like these that you're reminded of the dark side of brunch, of the considerable privilege it represents, and you want to tell them, for their sake and for the sake of your own middle-class guilt, “Excuse me, but your bougie is showing.”
The takeaway for Dime? It's a promising addition to the brunch scene, one where you'll easily be able to squander an afternoon with white linen cocktails and experience the progression of thought from “I'll do the laundry later” to “Clean socks are for suckers.” Just be sure to tune out the squares.