(UPDATED 4/22/18) The Sacramento Bee reported on April 20 that Formoli’s Bistro closed on April 12 “after a lively going-away party” that same day. It is reported that the chef/co-owner has accepted a position in a new upcoming venture.
(Original Post) Formoli’s Bistro on J Street in East Sacramento is a short walk from my home, and it immediately came to mind when friends from the Bay Area inquired about dining options in the near vicinity.
My friends come to Sacramento to visit me for several days each year during Thanksgiving week. We have a long-standing Thanksgiving tradition of dining out on the Wednesday evening prior to the Thanksgiving Day feast. It is a welcome and relaxing break after working hard prepping the dishes to be served the next day.
I made reservations for 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, and we timed our walk to get there shortly before. Formoli’s Bistro was about half full so reservations really were not necessary – but I would rather be safe than sorry.
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We each ordered a beverage, and looked over the menu. I ordered the Line 39 Pinot Noir ($12), one friend ordered the Rudy Zinfandel ($13), and the other ordered a lager beer ($6.50). Formoli’s menu is not expansive – but there were several possibilities for dinner that caught my eye.
One friend ordered the Seared Salmon (sugar pie pumpkin puree, root vegetable succotash, roasted kale and almonds) ($24) minus the sugar pie pumpkin puree. The second friend ordered the Whiskey Burger (5 DOT chuck, cheddar, Habanero aioli, greens, Don’s Buns, fries) ($15) and he added the Dream Farms fried egg ($2). I opted for the Wild Mushroom Risotto (rutabaga, wild mushrooms, turnips, kale, crispy leeks) ($22).
The friend who ordered the Seared Salmon was very pleased with her meal. She enjoyed the root vegetable succotash and said that the salmon was done to perfection. My Wild Mushroom Risotto was delicious. The portion was also huge – and I took fully half of my dinner home to enjoy another day.
The Whiskey Burger, however, was a miss. My friend had ordered his burger medium rare, but it was well done. The two of us suggested that he send it back – but he declined as we has already been served and had started our meal.
I would not describe this friend as “picky”. He found the patty to be “very dense” and said that it tasted more like meatloaf than a burger. The fries, bun and the fried egg were, however, said to be “perfect”.
I have had and very much enjoyed the Formoli’s Bistro Whiskey Burger previously, so I was disappointed that his experience left something to be desired.
We finished off the meal with a bit of sweetness by sharing a butterscotch pudding ($8) – which we all enjoyed. I don’t as a general rule order dessert, but I was able to find room for a few bites.
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