Notes for The Other Side
The Other Side
Sacramento, CA 95819
Track 7 Brewing Company brews excellent beer, and its latest venture, The Other Side, works well as a taproom and restaurant.
Some seven beers are on tap in a variety of pours from the Bee Line Honey Blonde Ale to Left Eye Right Eye. With high, industrial-like exposed ceilings, family style seating and a modest bar counter and tasting area, the din can get quite loud, which is fine for drinking but maybe not for coherent dinner conversations. Luckily, there’s a dog-friendly outdoor patio, complete with heat lamps and the ability to hear your companion’s sparkling sense of humor.
Did I mention how much I love Track 7 beers? I do, and so I might have had unfair expectations about The Other Side, a casual eatery that opened last July in East Sac. The restaurant’s signage touts its “rotisserie-centric” inclinations. Unfortunately, the rotisserie plates ($15 with two sides)—both the chicken and the pork—were underwhelming. The chicken cried out for seasoning, and the shredded pork was somehow tender but dry and begged for salt.
The Roasted Cauliflower ($8 for a half order) was a much better dish. Its crunchy, caramelized nuttiness kept our table going back for more, despite the ill-fitting beer cheese and romanesco dips.
Other side dishes faced similar puzzlement, such as the Grilled Broccolini ($6), served wilted and drowning in more beer cheese, or the Mac n’ Beer Cheese ($7), a usual American classic thrown off by copious amounts of Hatch chile. Then there was the salty Tater Tot-esque Cheese Curds ($6). If your most flavorful menu items are cheese curds and cauliflower, you might have a seasoning issue.
A surprise hit was the Roasted Beets ($6). The combo of sharp red onion, salty fromage and tangy basil stood out among dishes generally lacking a strong presence.
I thought maybe my issue was the beer cheese until I tried the Panic Fries ($12) ladled with savory cheese sauce and tossed with chunks of rotisserie pork, chiles, scallions and radishes. The rotisserie chicken worked better once it took on a more supportive role as an ingredient rather than a star dish. In the Chicken Pita ($13), the meat’s plainness allowed giant green olives, pickled onion and an herbaceous green goddess dressing to do the heavy hitting. It was the equivalent of a palatable, homemade leftover meal.
The best plate on the menu—and possibly one of the yummiest vegan sandwiches ever—was The Double Take ($14): A black bean falafel patty, lightly fried with a golden crust and topped with sprouts, onion, pickles and harissa ketchup. The wheat bun was too thick, but easily forgiven once I chomped down on salty, crunchy, flavor-from-all-directions sandwich perfection.
Oh, and dessert. The Chocolate Stout Pot de Crème ($7)—layered with Nutella, dark chocolate and strawberry jam—will seriously make you melt in sugar ecstasy. So why does The Other Side bother with anything else? It could just serve beer and dessert, and no one would leave unhappy.
The Other Side has good ideas and maybe it hasn’t found its stride quite yet. I’m sure with further experimentation and a little more consistency, it’ll come up with a menu worthy of its namesake.