Tucked divided and tiny though many signage, Ten Ten Room is easy to travel past – nonetheless a name, that is also a restaurant’s address, offers a useful clue. That’s good, since blank a latest opening from husband-wife group Tyler and Melissa Williams, also of Jungle Bird and Tank House, would be a pity.
The pocket-sized bar-restaurant, occupying a former Megami Bento-Ya space on 10th Street downtown, has a clubby, ‘50s-ish vibe; a wall of black-and-white portraits of internal restaurateurs is a curtsy to a Sutter Club’s wall of members’ photos. The infrequently tongue-in-cheek menu includes throwbacks to match, from meatballs with grape preserve to a grasshopper cocktail.
It’s all unequivocally desirous by a “Mad Men” era, and during lunch one day, a uncover itself was personification on a TV nearby a richly paneled bar. Happily, however, a grill projects zero of Don Draper’s grave alienation. Painted in a dim teal and sporting tawny, gentle leather booths, a tiny space feels cosy and full, adding to a cocktail-party aura.
Last week I reviewed The Patriot, a 200-seat grill with dozens of menu options. Ten Ten Room, that can chair only 32 guest and has a whopping 4 entrees (plus several meal-size sandwiches), felt like a frigid opposite.
Never skip a internal story.
Cozy and extra-festive during a holiday season, Ten Ten Room is a good place to seat down opposite a chill while enjoying cocktails, such as a fresh and harsh Some Like It Hot. It facilities brandy offset with sour Cynar and lemon. It can be systematic prohibited or cold, as a name cheekily implies.
Cocktails are a vital concentration here, as befits a epoch to that a bar gestures. The drinks of a 1950s and 1960s tended to be high-octane and straightforward, and Ten Ten’s libations follow that guideline, including a subtly herbal strange Coup d’Etat (bourbon, vermouth, chartreuse) or a honestly out-of-date Grand-Dad’s Old Fashioned.
The splash names mostly have a crafty twist. The aged fashioned, for example, is done with Old Grand-Dad’s bourbon, though it’s also put together a proceed a lot of granddads would make one: surfaced off with bar soda. we desired a ginger punch and citrus spice of a Monty Python-esque Bring Me a Shrubbery, a pointy gingery turn on a French 75 that includes solitaire and tangerine-elderflower plant – a nonalcoholic, fruity libation that’s been renouned in Sacramento in new years.
Also featuring elderflower was a White Linen Slush, partial of a tiny menu of solidified cocktails that we envision will be exile hits in a summer months. At one lunch visit, my messenger systematic a solidified sangria. Our server returned shortly to contend it wasn’t utterly frozen, bringing instead a inexhaustible nominal ambience of a White Linen Slush. The server asked my messenger if he would rather switch to that or wait 10 to 15 mins for a sangria he had ordered. He went with a slush, and he did not bewail a decision.
It was a good proceed for a server to spin a tiny snafu into a certain moment, and standard of a use we encountered over 3 visits: fervent to please, unstuffy and unobtrusive. This proceed struck a right records for a restaurant, that felt cohesive, with many sum contributing to a agreeable altogether experience.
Take a menu, for instance, smartly designed by executive cook Greg Pilapil (formerly of Hook Ladder) to embody smile-inducing twists on mid-century Americana. There’s no Jell-O salad nonetheless – we brave some forward restaurateur to do this one day – though there’s onion dip, boiled ravioli, fry duck with immature bean stew and a aforementioned meatballs in grape jelly, that were unequivocally good. Made with a proposal reduction of beef and pork, a meatballs were coated in a thick, sour salsa that tasted like an updated spin on a chili-sauce-spiked grandma-style jubilee nosh of yore.
Another leader among a appetizers is a deviled Scotch egg, with deep-fried, house-made sausage encasing a hard-boiled egg; a whole shebang is cut in half, with a spiced yolk piped behind in. And here we come to a recantation of a long-held food opinion. In my introductory mainstay for The Bee, we remarkable that my food kryptonite is deviled eggs, to a dismay of many readers. Well, a Ten Ten Room got me to eat a deviled egg, and what’s more, once it was offset by crunchy, pointy sausage, we favourite it.
I was somewhat reduction wowed by a boiled spinach and cheese ravioli, served with marinara. They could have been crunchier and tasted a tiny tasteless other than their immersion of Parmesan, creation them mediocre in an differently successful territory of a menu.
A stronger updated classical was a onion dip, that had nary a sniff of Lipton’s powdered onion soup brew about it. The drop was tawny and silky smooth, with a abounding caramelized-onion season that drew me behind repeatedly. Unfortunately, a concomitant house-made potato chips tasted good though were unevenly fried. Some were ideally crisp, with an surprising ethereal crunch, though some were wilted and floppy, a unhappy state of affairs for a food that is fundamentally meant as a drop shovel.
The kitchen’s missteps were few, though as with a chips, those it did make were glaring. Another miscue was in a beef frites during cooking one night. The thin-cut New York beef was pickled so heavily that my messenger couldn’t eat some-more than a few bites and had to make a dish out of a throng fries alongside.
Those robust fries were consistently good, and can also be systematic “loaded” for a tiny additional charge. The menu as a whole is tolerably priced, with entrees underneath $20 and many apps underneath $10. On one visit, a server suggested we lard a fries that accompanied my lunch sandwich in gravy and cheese, and we happily let ourselves be upsold into what my father called “stealth poutine.” Truth be told, we elite it to a genuine Quebecois article, that customarily relies on canned gravy, rather than a rich, thick form that Ten Ten’s kitchen is branch out.
My duck bar was good balanced, with a lemon aioli and a subtle, pointy punch from thin-sliced red onions lively a classical sandwich, layered with wet duck and tawny avocado. Two quibbles: The sandwich’s white toast was a shade burnt in spots, and a bacon was tough rather than crisp.
Ten Ten Room’s lunch business has been on a still side so far, according to Tyler Williams, though a good prices and clever sandwich lineup ought to make it renouned with a downtown lunch crowd. we also favourite a meatball sub, with zesty marinara on garlic bread, and a dainty garlic beef sandwich. This featured identical thin-cut New York beef as a snack had, though possibly a kitchen used a lighter palm with a seasoning or it was offset by all else going on in a sandwich, including garlic bread and a cloud-textured, silky horseradish cream.
The snack menu has only 4 offerings, and we attempted them all. This is not a strongest territory of a menu, though a shrimp and forage offering lots of season in a gussied-up chronicle of a classic, finish with pointy chorizo. The forage themselves indispensable a tiny some-more seasoning, though; maybe some of a salt from a beef would have helped matters. The spinach and cheese ravioli, like their boiled counterpart, were excellent though zero to write home about.
The genuine standout on a snack menu was a roasted duck breast with immature bean casserole. The duck was proposal and juicy, and a crunchy-tender immature beans were swathed in a delicious fungus gravy – an towering curtsy to a soup-can stew binder. Crisp boiled onions sprinkled on tip combined punch.
There are a integrate of desserts on a menu, including an indulgently tawny chocolate mousse layered with fruity churned cream. But for a truly noted honeyed finale to a meal, we contend sequence a grasshopper for a table. The classical cocktail, with a intolerable shade of crème-de-menthe green, and a inexhaustible sip of crème de cacao and complicated cream, is swampy and roughly thick adequate to eat with a spoon, and it tastes like a best packet chip ice cream we never had.
I can’t consider of a final time we saw a grasshopper on a menu, and now we consternation because some-more places don’t have it. Like a onion drop and a meatballs on other visits to a Ten Ten Room, that grasshopper done me smile, skip my grandma a tiny and feel blissful we had left my residence on a cold Dec night to hang out with friends peaceful to share a splendid immature drink. Any place that can strike those records of pleasure, amiable nostalgia and jubilee is one we wish to revisit. What else, after all, are restaurants for?
Email Kate Washington during email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter: @washingtonkate
Ten Ten Room
1010 10th Street. 916-272-2888. tentenroom.com
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday (kitchen open 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.); 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday (kitchen open 4-10 p.m.).
Beverage options: Full bar, with solemnly crafted strange cocktails and classics your grandma would hail like an aged crony (grasshopper, anyone?).
Vegetarian friendly: Moderately.
Gluten-free options: Yes.
Noise levels: The bar is tiny adequate that it gets shrill when full, though mostly we won’t have to scream to make yourself heard.
Ambiance: Clubby and intimate, a tiny though stylish Ten Ten Room encourages slow with friendly tables, comfy leather booths and a radiant timber bar.
With a deftly executed mid-century concept, a firmly edited and mostly successful menu, good drinks and a sexy atmosphere, a frolicsome Ten Ten Room fills a niche Sacramento’s cocktail stage competence not even have famous it was missing.
The menu is brief though mostly rock-solid, equally good for bar snacking or a sit-down meal, with fun takes on selected classics such as meatballs in grape jelly, fry duck with freshened-up immature bean stew and a clever lineup of tasty sandwiches. Don’t skip a fries with gravy and cheese.
Servers are on a infrequent side, as befits a atmosphere, though accommodating, likeable and efficient. Bartenders are critical about their work, furrowing their brows when charring a frame of orange zest, though adult for a chat.
Price points are unchanging and affordable for a peculiarity and apportionment sizes on offer: Entrees are all underneath $20, a estimable sandwiches are $12-14 and appetizers cost $10 or less. Nearly all cocktails are a straight, lovely $10.