Taste: The region's latest food, drink & restaurant news for April 21

Photos courtesy of purveyors

Fresh, flavorful food is the theme of this week's roundup. Two popular midtown eateries launch new menu additions, a Hawaiian seafood restaurant is slated to open in midtown, an outpost of a popular suburban brunch spot comes to East Sacramento, and the second location of a celebrate ramen house opens.

Block Butcher Bar

This midtown charcuterie and bar unveiled a new weekday lunch menu April 11 featuring artisan sandwiches, salads and, happily, some "juicy" cocktails. The current menu offers eight choices, including hot sandwiches (like the Spicy Choppa with house-cured pork shoulder, fontina, Calabrian chiles and arugula) and cold sammies (like a muffaletta with mortadella, salame, provolone, Castelvetrano olives and peppers). Block Butcher’s chefs have also crafted a salad with seasonal veggies, pancetta, feta and house-made green onion vinaigrette. But perhaps the most exciting portions of the new lunch menu are adult takes on Lunchables-style plates featuring charcuterie and cheese, along with the bar’s new cocktails using juice from Liquidology, like the “I’ve Got a Fever” blend with tequila and Liquidology’s pineapple-packed Island Fever juice. For those with limited lunch breaks, Block is planning a sandwich and salad that will be assembled each morning for to-go orders. 1050 20th St. 476-6306. blockbutcherbar.com

Coconut’s Fish Cafe

This casual Hawaiian seafood chain that originated in Maui, is expected to open a Sacramento location in midtown this May. Founded in 2009 by River City native Mike Phillips, the small chain of fish-focused eateries also has locations in Arizona and Texas. Rocklin residents Frances Oney (Phillips' daughter) and her husband Daniel will run the new location, which they co-own with Phillips. Coconut’s sustainably sourced includes fish sandwiches like the seared ahi tuna, poke bowls made with brown rice and wasabi, and the cafe’s signature fish tacos—a blend of grilled mahi mahi and ono served on a corn tortilla with coconut milk coleslaw and mango salsa. The bright décor, which will feature bamboo walls and surfboard tables, will further bring the island vibe to midtown. 1420 16th St. 440-0449. coconutsfishcafe.com

Early Toast Mimosa House

This local breakfast and brunch spot, with locations in Roseville and El Dorado Hills, is expanding to East Sacramento in mid-May. With about 35 mimosa flavors currently on the menu in a variety of flavors like the Crazy Hawaiian with pineapple juice and strawberries, or the Russian Kick with vodka and ginger beer, the latest incarnation of Early Toast will also offer breakfast plates like a crab cake Benedict and an array of sweet and savory crepes. The new location is also aiming to cater to the afternoon and evening crowd by adding pizza to its menu, in addition to an expanded dinner menu. Owner Lou Dedier says he is renovating Early Toast—which will occupy the space 57th and J streets formerly held by Clark’s Corner—with modern, eclectic features like light fixtures using custom piping and walls covered in repurposed barn wood. 5641 J St. earlytoastnuggetplaza.com

Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates

You won't want to skip breakfast on Saturday: This midtown chocolaterie will offer a “Chocolate for Breakfast” menu on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. featuring a range of sweets like a cruffin (a croissant muffin) filled with white chocolate cream and strawberry jam using fruit sourced from the Midtown Farmers Market, or a breakfast affogato with cocoa nib granola, espresso ice cream drenched in European sipping chocolate and a topping of toasted oat-infused whipped cream. Other treats will include chocolate cream puffs, chocolate custard brioche and hazelnut waffles. The last day for preorders of six or more items is Thursday, April 21. 1801 L St. 706-1738. gingerelizabeth.com

Shoki Ramen House

Shoki owners Yasushi and Kathy Ueyama soft-opened a new location of their celebrated ramen house at 21st Street and Broadway on April 13. Kathy says that while the ramen quality is held to the same high standard as its R Street spot, the concept for the 21st Street restaurant features a brand-new build-your-own-bowl approach with options for broths, noodles and toppings like bamboo shoots, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, chashu (slow-cooked pork) and organic half-boiled eggs. It will also offer new appetizers, along with Asian-fusion breakfasts, pastries and organic coffee from Sacramento’s Chocolate Fish on weekends. 2530 21st St. shokiramenhouse.com  

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