Description of a mid-week lunch at The Virgin Sturgeon – a floating restaurant located on the Garden Highway in Sacramento.
A friend and I had plans to go to lunch recently – and the unusually warm Spring-like weather had us thinking how pleasant it would be to dine on the river. As we considered the options we settled on The Virgin Sturgeon.
It had been some time since I was last at The Virgin Sturgeon, and I was looking forward to a relaxing lunch and “catching up” on the latest with my friend. The atmosphere at The Virgin Sturgeon always appeals to me – casual and friendly.
During the summer boating season it is fun to sit and watch the boats as they make their way up and down the river. Boaters often stop and tie up to the dock for a meal or a liquid libation.
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We parked on the other side of the road across from The Virgin Sturgeon. Parking can sometimes be a challenge. There are a limited number of spaces in the small lot on the river side of the restaurant; otherwise you have to park along the side of the road.
The Virgin Sturgeon is unique in the Sacramento region. To reach the restaurant barge one makes a bit of a steep decent down the slope safely encased in what had previously been an airline boarding ramp. No worries – take your time and hold onto the railing as you descend.
We had arrived soon after The Virgin Sturgeon had opened, but already most of the tables directly overlooking the river were occupied. We settled in one of the two tables still open and started to look over the menu after each of us ordered a glass of Bogle Chardonnay.
My friend ordered the single sirloin steak sandwich (sirloin steak on a buttered roll with a hint of garlic) with a side salad ($10) and a side of grilled onions and mushrooms ($3). I ordered one of the lunch specials – the carnitas plate (flour tortillas, chunks of pork, fresh salsa, rice and beans) ($14).
We were so busy talking that when our order arrived we did not notice that the grilled onions and mushrooms was missing. Shortly thereafter our waitress arrived with the dish – just in time so they could be added to my friend’s steak sandwich. I later noted that we had not been charged for the onions and mushrooms.
Both of us enjoyed our lunch. Although not particularly tender, the steak sandwich was said to be flavorful. I enjoyed my carnitas – the pork was tender and the rice and beans were tasty.
After we finished lunch we lingered over a second glass of wine. We moved to one of the tables outside towards the back of the restaurant as our table was in the sun and my friend was getting a little too warm.
If you haven’t been to The Virgin Sturgeon you may be surprised to learn that you cannot get fries with your burger. Or, anything deep fried for that matter. Years ago I was told that having a deep fryer on board was thought to be a bit too risky. Enjoy instead a side salad or the Cuban Black Beans.
The Virgin Sturgeon first opened in 1984 – and it appears to still be going strong. I recall that in the past, on at least two occasions, the barge sunk – but The Virgin Sturgeon was brought both back to the surface and back to life – lucky for us.
See related blog post: Annual Sacramento Restaurant Review Recap (2018)
Note: The Virgin Sturgeon does have a website – but it will not allow me to access the site with AdBlock turned on – so you will have to access the website directly for additional information.
Comments on The Virgin Sturgeon?
What would you add? Do you have a favorite dish (or two)?
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I love the Virgin Sturgeon and always have since my early age. The review says it was opened in 1984. I can remember when it was open as a bar and dancing way back in the 70’s. Correct me if I’m wrong. I was a young girl in my late twenties, and went there with a few girlfriends, and had to go to the bathroom, because I had to much to drink I mistakenly went into the men’s bathroom. I was scared to death, but managed to get out of there without anyone noticing, close call! Anyway, I’m 70 years old today and still go there for my steak sandwich. Love that place.
Thanks for your comment!