(UPDATED 10/3/2020) Description and review of The Firehouse Restaurant during Sacramento Dine Downtown Week. See UPDATE below.
Three friends and I recently met at The Firehouse Restaurant during Sacramento Dine Downtown Week. The Firehouse Restaurant, a fine dining establishment, is located in the National Historic District of Old Sacramento. It was a Friday evening and the restaurant was doing a very brisk business.
I took a quick look around when I arrived, but since there were no seats available at the Main Dining Room Bar I decided to wait outside for my party. It was not long before one friend arrived and when we entered we found that the other two in our party had shortly before been seated (having entered the side door).
Before continuing a bit of history seems warranted….
A Bit of History
The Firehouse Restaurant building is a renovated brick firehouse that originally housed Engine Company #3. In 1872 the California Legislature made the (former volunteer) Engine Company #3 the first paid fire department in the state.
The Firehouse Restaurant officially opened in 1960. The ambiance of each dining area (Courtyard, Courtyard Grill, Courtyard Grill Bar, Golden Eagle Room, Main Dining Room, Main Dining Room Bar, Wine Cellar I and ll), is enhanced by its unique furniture and décor.
My personal favorite dining area (on a nice summer day or evening) is the Courtyard. You cannot ask for a more beautiful and magical setting – the brick patio and brick walls covered with vines, the trees situated around the patio strung with lights, the sound of the water cascading in the fountain, etc.
Many items decorating the interior and exterior are antiques and/or sourced or saved from old buildings demolished around the time of the renovation. Quite a few of the pieces have an interesting backstory/history. For example, the fire pole and cover in the Main Dining Room Bar are the originals from the firehouse built in 1853.
The Firehouse Restaurant has one of California’s premier wine cellars with more than 14,000 bottles and 1,800 individual labels. Its collection of rare wines are housed in “The Vault”. The restaurant has won numerous national wine awards, including Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence” for consecutive years (19 and counting!). Additionally, The Firehouse has been awarded the “Best California Wine List” by the California Restaurant Association.
SacramentoRevealed.com – All Things Sacramento (from a personal perspective)
Firehouse Restaurant Dine Downtown Week Menu
The Firehouse Restaurant Dine Downtown Menu (3-course meal for $35) offered a greater variety of choices than most participating restaurants:
- Mixed Greene (pears, walnut, Point Reyes blue cheese, apple cider vinaigrette)
- Organic Breast of Chicken (soft white polenta, braised baby carrots, natural thyme jus); or,
- Pan-Roasted Atlantic Salmon (sweet potato puree, bacon-wilted chard, crispy parsnips, Meyer lemon relish); or,
- Grilled New York Strip Steak (rosemary-roasted Yukon Gold potato, balsamic-braised brussels sprouts, sage butter); or,
- Winter Vegetable Napoleon (squash, tofu, smoked tomato spinach, onion, ricotta-tomato sauce)
- Valrhona Chocolate Mousse (almond brittle, cocoa whip); or,
- Caramel Apple Cake (caramel-infused sponge cake, vanilla ice milk, brown sugar crumble)
We were seated at the junction of the Main Dining Room Bar and the Main Dining Room – a very busy intersection – as diners were led to the Main Dining Room or to the downstairs dining areas and servers made their way back and forth. Despite being a busy evening the food was both well-prepared and tasty, and the service was attentive.
Firehouse Restaurant Review
To accompany our meal two members of our party ordered a glass of wine (one white and one red) and the other two of us ordered the offered Dine Downtown Wine Flight for $15 per person/ 2-ounce pour each of:
- 2016 Backstory Chardonnay, California
- 2015 Cherry Pie Pinot Noir, Monterey/Sonoma/Santa Barbara
- 2016 Boeger Barbera, El Dorado County
I was very happy with the wine flight as each wine sample went perfectly with each of the three courses.
One person in our party ordered the Pan-Roasted Atlantic Salmon while three of us ordered the Grilled New York Strip Steak. As for dessert, an order was placed for the Carmel Apple Cake (to go), while the remaining three of us ordered the Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Cake to enjoy at the end of the meal.
After our wine was delivered, a basket of bread and butter was delivered to the table. Soon after our mixed green salad was served. The salad was enjoyed by all – what was not to like?
The Pan-Roasted Atlantic Salmon was said to be “slightly” overdone, but was declared to be very tasty. The three of us who had ordered the Grilled New York Strip Steak were more than happy with our steaks. Not only were they perfectly done, we had all ordered them “medium”, but they were also tender and very flavorful. We were all also taken aback by the size of the steak. Two of us took half of our steaks home to enjoy the next day.
I did not see the Carmel Apple Cake as it had been ordered “to go”, but the Valrhona Chocolate Mousse Cake was divine. Like the steak, the portion of the dessert was also very good sized. After such a wonderful meal two of us were only able to partially eat our dessert.
To sum up, as we sat chatting after dinner we were all in agreement that The Firehouse Restaurant Dine Downtown Menu was a very good value. The meal, combined with the beautiful surroundings and the excellent service, made for a very pleasant evening.
(10/3/2020) The Firehouse Restaurant recently received multiple “Best of” awards in the annual contest run by Sacramento Magazine. The winners are chosen by the public via online voting.
The Firehouse Restaurant was awarded “The Best…:
- Dining: Best of the Best (money no object)
- New American
- Restaurant to take Out-of-Towners
- Romantic Restaurant
- Wine List
- Restaurant In Old Sac
- Bartender (Garrison Schwarz)
Comments on The Firehouse Restaurant?
What has been your experience at The Firehouse Restaurant?
The Firehouse Restaurant Snapshot (as of 1/23/19):
- 1112 2nd Street, Sacramento, CA 95814 (Old Sacramento)
- (916) 442-4772
- Lunch: Monday – Friday (11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.)
- Dinner: Sunday – Thursday (5:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.); Friday – Saturday (5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
- Happy Hour: Monday – Friday (2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)
- Bar: Monday – Thursday (11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.); Friday (11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.); Saturday (5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.); Sunday (5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.)
- Outdoor Dining: Courtyard
- Parking: $5 Valet Parking; Metered Street Parking; City Parking Lot at 2nd & I Streets; City Parking Garage at Neasham & Front Streets
- Check The Firehouse Restaurant website for holiday hours and closures
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