Kupros Increases the Kreativity Offered By Midtown Eateries
Kudos to Kupros Bistro for kreativity.
Fried pickles? House-cured no less. Kompared to the koncept of fried pickles, a tartar sauce accompaniment seems almost mundane.
Apparently, this is one of those gastropubs folks are yakking about that aim to ratchet up bar food a notch or nine. Whatever Kupros is – it’s Greek for copper – a tip-of-the-hat to executive chef, Sacramento native John Gurnee, formerly of Mason’s. There’s any number of delights in the wood frame Green & Green-ish former home on 21st near Kapitol that for something like four decades was the costume store, Cheap Thrills.
One is an arresting bar that dominates the first floor. Kross the wood plank porch, open the door and — wham – there’s a massive art nouveau checkerboard of green, yellow and kopper-highlighted stained glass hovering above a stentorian mahogany rectangular bar that’s at least 25 feet long and appears able to accommodate Toulouse Lautrec and every hooker and can-can dancer he ever painted during his – ahem – short kareer. Stairs lead up to a dining room with partitions and sliding doors to kreate privacy or enlarge space for bigger parties.
But H.D. Palmer, food savant from the state Department of Finance, opts for the Lido deck – the upstairs porch dotted with royal blue Peroni umbrellas. There’s an unfortunately located telephone pole near the right end of the porch but for most of the deck trees mask 21st St. below, helping dim its traffic to a background hum.
The same kan’t be said of the outdoor speakers. Sacrilege though it is, a request is politely made to mute the Chairman of the Board. Here’s H.D.’s account of the cheese plate and the subsequent redefining-refreshing watermelon salad:
“Since Duck McNuggets aren’t on today’s lunch menu — order for the name alone – it’s the artisan cheese plate. Have the house pick three — they chose a gouda, a cheddar (Silver Mountain), and a chevre (Cypress Grove, Humboldt County). It komes alongside nuts, baguette slices, a blackberry jam and honey in the smallest hand-made red clay pot you can imagine – about the size of two thimbles. The watermelon salad is equal-sized pieces of watermelon and fresh bits of mozzarella about the size of half of a marshmallow on top of mache. Some places absolutely mangle balsamic. These guys have found the sweet spot — not too much vinegar, not too oily, not too salty and just a hint of sweetness.”
Not to dwell on the kreativity thing but fried calamari, avocado chunks, pepperoncini slivers on frisee, spattered with monstrous Italian parsley leaves isn’t a combo that immediately leaps to mind. The tartness of the lime mango dressing is sharpened by the pepperoncini and frisee. H.D.’s sweeter balsamic might be more contrapuntal.
The hamachi carpaccio with micro-dice melon, vanilla and basil is beautifully presented but difficult to eat. There’s an abundance of robust oven-dried tomatoes in the vongole that aren’t as sweet as their sun-dried brethren but add a bright almost smoky flavor that dovetails neatly with the clams, chilis and bread crumbs.
There’s also beer-steamed clams with garbanzos and ham chunks the size of dice. Savory broth but H.D. concurs: “More clams, fewer garbanzoids, same ham dice.”
Our three sandwich forays can only be eaten with knife and fork. H.D.’s description of his pork belly BLT notes the “slice of a locally grown, perfectly light orange Watanabe tomato about the diameter of a fist.” His first time for pork belly: “The richest bacon you can possibly imagine.”
Similarly unhandle-able is the reuben with its lofty mound of tender duck atop cabbage and Russian dressing.
The barkeep is artful in pairing wines with H.D.’s entrees, including factoring in the golfball of green peppercorn butter on his flank steak and its accompanying potatoes cooked in duck fat. Lots of options on-tap. Hard not to order “Raging Bitch.”
The ramekin of panna cotta H.D. orders, served with home-made Oreos, is a delectable artery closer.
Thanks to owners Stephen and Sharon Tokuhama for laying out the coin to bring Kupros to Sacramento.
Filed under: Restaurant Raconteur
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