Hook & Ladder will farm-to-fork hook you

Brian Mizner’s four-course $40 prix fixe dinner menu for Sacramento Farm to Fork Restauran Week changes daily. So the meal I enjoyed Monday at Hook & Ladder Manufacturing Company may not be the meal you enjoy tonight or any night through Sunday.

But based on every Mizner dish I’ve tasted since December — including a fantastic vegan chocolate chili and mmm, mmm good mole pizza with squash and pumpkin seeds for a Farm to Fork event at Sutter’s Fort Saturday night — I’m pretty sure you’ll have a very good meal.

Mizner’s menu is not just a Farm to Fork Restaurant Week promotion — sponsored by the Sacramento chapter of the California Restaurant Association in conjunction with the region’s Farm to Fork Capital of America celebration — it’s also a salute to farmers. His $40 prix fixe specials this week are billed as the Farmers Appreciation Dinner.

So dinner will cost just $20 this week if you are a farmer or a grower. Mizner said Hook & Ladder will accept business cards, pay stubs, samples, dirty hands and dirty work boots as proof.

Here’s proof of a meal I enjoyed:

Roasted beet crostini

West Sacramento salad

First course: Roasted beet hummus, toasted walnuts, goat cheese from Sierra Nevada Cheese Company of Willows, and frisee.  Garlic in the hummus scrubbed away the soily flavor of beets. It was a bit exciting, like eating your first slice of red velvet cake.

Second course: Heirloom tomatoes from Yeung Farms in West Sacramento, lemon cucumbers from Del Rio Farms in West Sacramento, wild arugula and black quinoa salad, dressed in olive vinaigrette.

Brodetto of seafood

Pear tart

Third course: California swordfish (via Midtown’s Sunh Fish Company) with baby octopus, calamari, rock shrimp and clams in herbed tomato broth. Grilled swordfish was moist, giving way easily to my fork. Tomato broth was drinkably light and fruity.

Fourth course: Pear tart with Stark Crimson pear from Stillwater Farm in Courtland, roasted fig caramel and lightly sweetened whipped cream. A well-made dessert all around. What impressed me the most was the lightness of the caramel — more like a heavy zabiglione than a sticky sauce.

What’s on Mizner’s Farm to Fork Restaurant Week menu today through Sunday? Mizner told me yesterday that he hopes to get trout from Sloughouse’s Passmore Ranch today. He’s hoping to score lamb from Dixon’s Emigh Ranch as well.

If Mizner prepares Passmore’s trout like he did for me in December when I was reporting a story for the San Francisco Chronicle — grilled, set atop Grass Valley grits with roasted beets and greens, and topped with a poached egg — you’ll be pleased.

Brian Mizner’s trout



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