After living in Sacramento for over 6 months, on Saturday night I finally made it to the highly recommended Waterboy restaurant on Capitol .
I'm happy to report that it was one of my favorite restaurant meals since moving here. Everything was excellent - the food, wine and service. The only thing that I didn't like is the decor - the huge plate glass windows looking out into the dark made me feel a little like we were all on display (a minor complaint overall).
I had so much trouble deciding among all of the tasty options on the menu that I ended up having three appetizers. The waiter happily helped me decide on the order in which they should arrive taking into account the accompanying wine. I'd heard that the Waterboy was Northern Italian / Southern French country fare. After seeing the menu I would have to classify it as one of those "Californian" restaurants where any cuisine is fair game with a few specialties from the above regions.
I started with the beet salad topped with a breaded fried piece of goat cheese, garnished with baby mache. The sweet/tart warm/cool creamy/firm contrasts fit together wonderfully. (There was also some artichoke in this salad, but I didn't really get that. They seemed extraneous.) Next I had the Thai mussels. They were cooked to perfection in a coconut curry broth with leeks and sun-dried tomatoes. Finally I had to try Rick's famous sweetbreads, despite my organ/gland meat phobias. My bravery was well-rewarded - they were crisp and brown on the outside and incredibly tender on the inside. They reminded me a little of seared foie gras, in that they were incredibly rich and very meaty (umame?).
My boyfriend had the cassoulet special with duck, lamb and andouille sausage. Talk about rich! It was a smallish portion and he's a big guy but he couldn't even finish it. He also had a side of the potato gratin with artichoke - which was very simple and light (as light as gratin can be). I was inspired to make potatoes au gratin on Sunday and mine weren't nearly as good.
Overall a great Saturday night experience. I asked my boyfriend partway through dinner if we could eat there every night. No such luck, sadly.