From brew to blue
Blue Prynt815 11th St.
Sacramento, CA 95814
Hopefully, Blue Prynt is a blueprint for success. Tucked next to the Best Western Sutter House on H and 11th streets, its somewhat oblique location has been star-crossed for previous eateries. Among past incarnations, most recently it was Sofia, previously Nine Dragons and, eons ago, the Bull Market. Blue Prynt—the “Y” is a martini glass—is Jason Lockard’s establishment. Lockard is the former chef at Brew It Up a few blocks away at H and 14th streets. Aside from the novelty of brewing one’s own brew—and an eclectic collection of same on tap—superlatives for Lockard’s previous place of employment falter.
Blue Prynt, with its Prussian blue walls, is better. One reason is: It’s a good space—a large two-tiered dining room, a spacious bar and another dining room upstairs where, back in the day, the Sacramento Press Club held its monthly luncheons. On the culinary front, while fonder of lime or lemon, a serrated cucumber slice in the water is a snappy touch. The freshness of the horseradish in the lemony shrimp cocktail is readily apparent. Tofu Caesar vegetarian salad dressing, mahi mahi fish and chips with cayenne and cumin seasoning—it’s clear a major effort has been made to create colorful flavor combinations.
A standout is the blackened pork tenderloin sandwich: jalapeños, Romanos, a big leaf of romaine, bacon, cream cheese and a Thai chili aioli. It tastes a little like a BLT at first, but then the chilies kick in. The hoagie bun is spongy and fresh, although holding the cream cheese, as is done on a subsequent visit, makes for a lighter taste and puts the tomato and lettuce in the driver’s seat. The filet mignon with sautéed mushrooms is more staid but is cooked to order—with the merest blush of pink. Another nice mix accompanies the New York steak sandwich. Same hoagie bun, but inside are tomatoes, mushrooms, mozzarella and fried leeks. As with the cream cheese above, to quote California’s governor, “less is more” when it comes to the mozzarella. This is in stark contrast to a French onion soup special that has no cheese. Le potage arrives with what appears to be a toasted bottom hamburger bun.
Presentation of the wedge salad is inspired, although its do-it-yourselfness generates a fair piece of work for the diner. It looks like a flag with the green iceberg wedge on one side of the plate, and on the other strips of bacon, cucumber (with skin), chopped tomatoes, shredded carrots, olives and cheddar cheese, the menu says, although it tastes like something other than cheddar. Cut up the lettuce, swirl in the other ingredients, pour on the sweet, licorice-ish tarragon vinaigrette and consume. A Waldorf, niçoise and Caesar in a Parmesan basket are also options. Among the entrees, which are in the $15 to $16 range, the wild mushroom risotto with its thyme flavoring is a solid vegetarian offering. More complex—and spicier—is the red pepper pasta, whose star is a pesto made from its namesake. A slab of chicken sits atop the pasta, which has a few artichoke hearts, leeks and olives thrown in. It also serves as inoculation against vampire attack. After three large garlic cloves are accidentally eaten, 10 still remain.
There are various designer drinks. A refreshing one is named after the place: Grey Goose vodka, blue curaçao and fresh lime juice with a twist. Never knew there was any kind of manhattan made with Irish whiskey, but Blue Prynt has one using Jameson. To quote the menu, it’s “perfect”—in the mixological sense. A cool thing is Two Rivers Cider on tap whose sales are devoted to fighting breast cancer. The servers, particularly Gary, are friendly, attentive and as prompt as they can be with the food for which there can sometimes be a bit of a wait. On each successive visit, the operation seems to getting smoother. A good sign.