I met a friend for lunch today at Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery, which is participating in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge this year for the first time. They are expecting to offer different vegan items throughout the month, but at the moment, most of the vegan dishes they're serving are already on their regular menu.
The first course options were either the Pan Blistered Shishito Peppers or the Baby Beet + Brussel Sprout Salad. I'm not big on Brussels sprouts, but I love beets, so I opted for the salad. When the server brought it out, I was surprised to see that, instead of whole Brussels sprouts, there were individual leaves from the sprouts. I don't know how they prepared them, but they were crispy, as though they had been toasted briefly. The beets were diced and marinated, then served on a bed of lentils and some greens that I couldn't identify. As it turned out, those greens were shredded Brussels sprouts. This salad was excellent, and I'm so glad it's on their regular menu.
Next, I had the Risotto Burger, which has received rave reviews from many vegans I know. I liked it too -- a nice thick risotto patty topped with lettuce, tomatillo pico de gallo, and what the menu refers to as "vegan awesome sauce," served on a fresh bun. I can definitely see why it's so popular.
The only disappointment was that the vegan dessert created by Blackbird's chef specifically for the Challenge isn't available at lunchtime. Guess I'll have to head over for dinner some night so I can try that Poached D'anjou Pear with Sangria Sorbet.
Blackbird Kitchen + Beer Gallery is located at 1015 Ninth Street, and their phone number is 916-498-9224. Their website address is http://www.blackbird-kitchen.com/ and their Facebook page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/BlackbirdKitchenBar. The restaurant is open Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and Saturday from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.