But the Soup and Salad Rocked! (Morgan's at the Sheraton - Sacramento, CA)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

One of the worse things that can happen is when a meal you look forward too doesn't meet expectations. Sadly my meal at Morgan's wasn't one of those situations. I came in with no expectations knowing nothing about the place, but left feeling spurned.

Rob and I had decided to take advantage of the Dine Downtown deal that was going on and decided to throw the dice and take a chance with a mystery player. Morgan's is the spacious, and hauntingly romantic restaurant in the Sheraton Grand hotel on J Street in downtown. It's location being in such a grand space, we surely expected an amazing meal.

The first hurdle was getting the reservation. I believe the first time I called I was disconnected. The second, I was transferred 5 times in the end, no one working at the hotel seemed to know that there even was a restaurant. The third call did the trick (after a few more transfers) and eliminated my hypothesis that the restaurant may have been nothing but a hoax. Later when we got turned around by parking, we tried to call to let them know we would be late. I realized that the direct line to the restaurant does not work, or something else was wrong as I double checked and after dialing the number I had printed off the website I was given an error message. I swear to God, I thought I would have to slay a minotaur at the end of the labyrinth.

Upon getting there and crutching my way up two flights of stairs (the elevator was at the other side of the building) we were finally seated. The table setting was charming and the waiter pleasant. We ordered some reisling, and Rob had some iced tea which came with a delightfully adorable pitcher so he would not have to wait for a refill if he wanted. The first plus of the night.

The bread that was served was also pleasant and surprising. The bread was warm and fresh, served with herbed yogurt butter, plain butter, and red pepper tapenade. Options are good, and they were tasty options. They get points for this.

The first course we ordered from the prix fixe meal were the soup and salad. I had leek and potato soup with parsnips, fried leeks, and white truffle oil for me. You could taste the pure leek and potato throughout the dish. The parsnips did not add much, but the fried shredded bits of leek added a crunchy textural counterpoint that gave it real life. Afterward haunting earthy notes of truffle oil, though a bit bourgeois, ended each bite on a spectacular note. Rob's salad consisted of red wine poached pears, bits of gogonzola, baby greens, red wine vinegarette, and spiced candied pecans. A classic combination given a bit of elegance.

Sadly this is where the good ends. Our main courses were a little less exuberent. The effort was there, the dishes really tried, but they just fell short. I had hoisin beef short rib which was cloyingly sweet, a bit too much so. The gingered polenta tasted like mashed potatoes, and the chai spiced veggies had no discernable spice. Rob had a half over roasted chicken with no flavor, bitter broccoli raab, and and "faux gras" breaded chicken liver which was just took over your tongue and held it hostage for a few minutes after each bite.

The desserts were fine, but I could have found similar quality at the Safeway bakery. Not bad, but I wasn't exactly impressed with the nice cranberry walnut tart or the common variety apple cobbler.

I can't say I see myself coming again. The prix fixe menu made it so that this wasn't so much of a loss, but I still felt a bit disappointed. Had I gone on a normal night and paid the usual prices, I would have been pretty pissed. Maybe I had an off night, so try it on your own accord and see how you fare, but I wouldn't encourage it.

Morgan's at the Sheraton
1230 J Street
Sacramento CA, 95814
916-447-1700 x4100 (allegedly)


  1. You had me cracking up with the mention of slaying a minotaur at the end of a labyrinth. Sorry to hear it wasn't as great as you thought it would be. Bummer!

  2. One of the pitfalls, I find, is if you can turn out a decent meal at home then often you are not always overly impressed with restaurant meals.

  3. Bummer! I went to Chanterelle's, Brew it Up! and Restaurant 55º. They were all great! Well worth the prix fixe price.

  4. Bummer..but a delightful and well-written review.

    I'll send people over from the forums to check it out.


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