Sacramento is teeming with local restaurants and semi-local chains that aim for value and efficiency. Here are some of our favorites:
Spicy (if you want it) and quick, Thai Canteen (with locations in Davis and midtown Sacramento) serves incredibly authentic, mouth-puckering Thai/Lao food and aims for a three-minute ticket time. Not bad if you can find a seat in their spartan dining room. What to get: The nuer namtok, a grilled beef salad with crackly parched rice, or the panang curry. And with everything under $10, it’s possibly the best value in the region.
The various Buckhorn establishments seem to have some variation among them (their steakhouse in Winters is straight fine-dining), but what doesn’t vary is the Dixie-meets-Santa-Maria by way of Paris approach to food. Buckhorn Grill offers casual California barbecue, slightly elevated, with locations in Sacramento and Vacaville.
The darling of the Capital Region’s Better Burger movement, Krush Burger has locations in Davis, Rocklin, Roseville and Sacramento (and Dubai, of all places). Though their energy may be better spent figuring out how to reduce ticket times to under 10 minutes, I could probably wait an hour for their perfectly caramelized meat.
Fusion has many faces but Tako has one of a Los Angelean. The Korean taco’s roots can be traced fairly clearly to Culver City in 2009 with Chef Roy Choi and his partner Mark Manguera’s Kogi Korean BBQ. Tako, located off the corner of T Street and Alhambra Boulevard, offers Sacramento’s iteration of the concept. It’s delicious.
Duc Huong Sandwiches
The banh mi, possibly the world’s most digestible history lesson, is not something easily mastered. It combines charcuterie and baking that the French brought to Southeast Asia, with a spice and whole-animal ethos that came naturally at the end of French rule. The lean-and-mean front of house game, often run by the cooks themselves, is endemic to these joints. Duc Huong, located on Sacramento’s Stockton Boulevard, charges around $3.75 per sandwich. The margins are slim, so the volume has to be high. Buy in bulk.
For more on California’s fast-casual dining movement, check back next week for Tyler Forvé’s January Taste installment, “Putting the ‘CA’ in Fast-Casual.” Sign up for our newsletter, and we’ll email you when it’s available online.