Sacramento was one of the six cities included in WSJ feature on the expanding food scene outside of the traditional hubs
They listed several categories representing major restaurant trends and then gave an example in each city. Here are the choices for Sac:
MEAT-CENTRIC GASTROPUB: Hook and Ladder
>>> real like this place, among all the others
CHEF-DRIVEN REGIONAL ITALIAN: Formoli’s Bistro
>>> I don't think Formoli's really qualifies, although I like them. Sacramento doesn't really have regional italian in the sense of this megatrend-- Biba with the northern italian focus comes closest (even after 25+ years).
HIPSTER ASIAN MASH-UP: Kru
MODERN SOUTHERN: The Porch Restaurant and Bar
I prefer this still to the others, including the new South
OLD-SCHOOL BISTRO: Bistro Michel
It is an old school bistro but I think Sac still lacks a standout in this category.
NEXT-GENERATION FARM TO TABLE: The Kitchen
>>> Although they qualify as F2T, I don't regard them as next gen. I think Grange, Magpie or Mother might be better choices for "next gen"
Here's the wrapper article on the general trend -- on the improvement of food outside of the big three and other better known new hubs (e.g., Portland, etc)