The last time I reviewed Capital Dime (see “An Imperfect 10,” SN&R August 15, 2013) it was under different ownership with a different chef at the helm.
Then, it aspired to be a hip place with affordable, modern food located in the Handle District. The menu was met with as much apathy and reticence as the term “Handle District.”
So here we are again.
The space Capital Dime inhabits has undergone more costume changes than Carrie Bradshaw. There’s a forced urban insouciance that encourages a convivial vibe geared towards the 30- to 50-something crowd willing to spend money on top-shelf liquor.
The menu boasts about being farm-to-fork, a concept that is rather ubiquitous these days, but welcome nonetheless. (Plus, I hear the local visitors bureau runs your restaurant out of town if it isn’t.)
It also aims to stick with Capital Dime the First’s original intent: good food for $10. Unless it’s a sammich, then more like $12, plus $3 if you want fries. Then add tax and tip. Oh, and drinks. So expect more like $25 per person.
Chef Cory Lazaldi has whittled down the new menu into smart bar bites, a few salads and a number of sandwiches—making the selections manageable for the kitchen and appealing to both casual diner and fervent food lover.
Let’s start with bacon lollipops, an accurate though perhaps sickeningly twee title for what may be one of the tastiest little creations ever put on a stick. Here, salty rib bacon is slathered with melted brown sugar and whispers of cayenne and cinnamon more hushed than the juiciest of rumors. Salt, meat and sugar. It’s not life changing, but damn if you don’t want a second order. Drink it with a decent glass of whiskey, no ice.
The pickle plate is an utter spectrum of hit and miss. Peppery pickled carrots? Hit! Bland pickled egg? Miss. Spicy pickled peppers? Hit! Cheese curds preserved in olive oil? If the word “blah” had a flavor, then this is it. Miss.
Sweet-potato pierogis are a welcome surprise. A comfort food more commonplace in flyover country and on the East Coast, a good pierogi is a rare treat in California. These puffy packets of potato lacked salt, but made up for it with a drizzle of sour cream and some shredded-duck confit.
A duck burger with fig jam and plenty of crispy onions makes for a gamy change of pace. The favorite of the night was the rib bacon whiskey burger. Weighed down with smoked rib bacon, crunchy lumps of house-made pickle, cheddar and a landslide of crispy fried onions, this might be the best burger I have ever had in Sacramento. Something I don’t say lightly.
A curious king oyster mushroom Reuben with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and tangy Thousand Island dressing melds together beautifully. If all vegetarian food tasted like this, I would never miss meat. Bacon and oysters included.
Brunch is a fantastic event best armed with bottomless mimosas. The biscuits and gravy are a savory start to the morning. Best to avoid the baked French toast; it’s a sugar bomb that could kill a diabetic through skin contact alone. For the most part, the avid bruncher will be quite happy with the menu.
Capital Dime strives to keep everything house-made: pickles, sauces and even the buns used for sandwiches. The bread deserves serious praise for both flavor and being able to stand up to saucy sandwiches and critically bleeding medium-rare burgers.
Overall, Capital Dime meets the expectations it set for itself: affordable, approachable, farm-to-fork food for the masses. So, you masses, go get a table and enjoy.