Notes on two placed I tried in Sacramento over the weekend...
Las Islitas is a Mexican restaurant that specializes in seafood. It's a big place, a bit divey but not nearly as much as Mazatlan. Most food is served in styrofoam. Instead of chips and salsa, tables are given free saltines, whole tostada shells, and cups of ceviche. Although the fish is finely ground (I prefer ceviche with large chunks of fish), it is very tasty. The best item on the menu are the empanadas, deep fried half moons with extremeley tasty corn-and-fat shells stuffed with shrimp. They come with an unusual but delicous salsa of fresh jalapenos, cilantro, and lime. Also good was the carne asada and the excellent refried beans. The large oysters were fine but were drained of their brine and, well, I'm spoiled now by the incredibly fresh osyters at Hog Island in SF so these just didn't do it for me. Whole fried fish is supposed to be good here, but we didn't have any on our visit. They closed at 8pm on Saturday, at 7pm during the week.
7240 24th Street @ Florin
The worst thing about Brew It Up is its name: so terribly kitschy that I almost decided to not even give it a try, which would have been a shame. This is a huge brewpub in downtown, with a slick interior that tries hard to duplicate Gordon Biersch. The food was mediocre: a steak sandwich was literally a steak (somewhat chewy and not especially flavorful) on a bun. The side of house-made potato chips with balsamic vinegar and chopped basil were good if a bizzare mix of ingredients. An asian vegetable salad was mostly mixed spring greens and frisee with a few canned bamboo shoots and chunks of extremely tough chicken. The best item were the complimentary pretzels and mustard that are served before the meal. But the good news is, the beer here is pretty darn good. We tried 8 of their 25 or so beers and enjoyed most of them. If I recall correctly, they were: Belgian Wheat, Hefewiezen, Engine #2 (Pale Ale), Oatmeal Stout, Czar's Tar (Imperial Stout), Imperial Pilsner, Belgian Triple, and an Irish Amber. The Triple and Oatmeal Stout were not good, but the other were enjoyable though not fastastic. But they were at least good enough that I plan on returning to try more of their beers. But I'll eat elsewhere.
801 14th Street @ H Street