Pearl on the River in Sacramento, CA

This place looks like it should be slightly upscale or high end in some way but that’s just the decor and the way the staff dress.  Walking in is pleasant, I guess.  There is a bar in front of you with a big screen should you go there just for drinks.  The dining room area looks nice and I’m not sure what the upstairs looks like but I’m guessing more of the same.   We got seated by the window with these two posts next to us.  Not all that flattering but well, it’s not their fault, I guess, those beams have to go SOMEwhere but you’d think they’d decide not to seat people there.  I felt bad for the wait staff who have to contort a little to get to us.

We sat for a bit and got offered some bread.  Mind you, they give you a tiny amount of sourdough bread and hard as heck butter with some green stuff in it, my guess is, herbed butter but have they not heard that butter should be at least room temperature?  For a trying to be upscale place you’d think that’d be hosting 101 but I guess not.  My date didn’t care for the butter.  He said there was some weird twang to it.  I used it to disguise the flavour of the sourdough.  I have to point out, that is not the restaurant’s fault.  I don’t like sourdough so at least the butter was bland enough or somehow counteracted the sourdough taste.  This might be why my date didn’t like it though, he LIKES sourdough, so he ate his plain.

The food itself was OK but for the price, I expect better, like WAY better!  The fried calamari was rubbery as all heck and the batter might as well be from some cheap trying to be tempura  place with NO flavour.  They offer you a way too tangy marinara type sauce and a wedge of lemon.  Trust me, nothing could save that appetizer except maybe some ranch but even then I’m not over the tough chewy bits.  So if that’s how you like your calamari, go for it.  I prefer mine tender and not overcooked.  I paid $11 dollars for this overcooked thing which I could do myself at home with that batter they sell in baggies at your local grocery store.

It’s late in the evening so I didn’t want a big plate, so I ordered an appetizer… mac and cheese.  I’m not entirely sure how that’s an appetizer but whatever, the portion was small and the taste was OK.  I paid $15 dollars.  Maybe I’m picky but shouldn’t the mac and cheese have some kind of flavour besides bacon?  Yup, there was bacon and there was chicken, though I suppose bacon flavoured chicken is some people’s favourite but not me.  I like different flavours and textures which they attempted by adding some kind of crushed croutons, I guess?  I’m not sure but it was a little crunch but again not much other flavour.   Maybe I’m more used to traditional mac and cheese, maybe high end mac and cheese is supposed to have little flavour but I doubt it.  They did use Orecchietes though as opposed to elbows which was a nice twist.  I didn’t mind that at all.

I tried a little of their clam chowder which my date had and he wasn’t too pleased with it.  I noticed that their bowl was more like a cup, so I can’t imagine what their cup must be like!  Perhaps an actual cup like from a measuring thing…that’s not a whole lot for 7 bucks!  For a dollar 50 more you get the bowl which, like I said, is more like a cup in other places.  The soup spoon didn’t even get covered by the time he hit the bottom, it was a little over half covered.  The flavour itself was alright, a little like unsalted canned but not horrible, it did have clams in it but I didn’t get any potato.  They didn’t specify which kind of clam chowder this was so maybe it wasn’t supposed to have potatoes.  To me, it was alright but I’ve had better which is why I rated this 2 stars overall.

I think for the price, they should try a little harder with their food.  It’s not completely horrible and if you’re seated in a nice area maybe you can see the river, all we saw was crawdads (another restaurant) and the marina posts, planks, walkways, and one boat parked there if you looked down so it wasn’t a great view.  I see no reason to have window seats at all but that’s my opinion.  Maybe it looks prettier in the day time.  I am not sure I’m coming back to this place but since it was nice looking, I can’t really give it a 1 star but it’s kinda close.

Anyway, if you like spending money for kinda mediocre this is your place.  I think next time I’ll check out Crawdads or Chevy’s next door.  Maybe they’ll actually have use for their window seats, I don’t know, but if I do I’ll let you know.  Thank you for reading.

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