Why jump directly into a restaurant entrée when you can rouse your palate (and your appetite) with a vivacious, flavorful meal-starter? Here’s five of our favorites:
Sabzee Khordan: Famous Kabob, Sacramento
A complimentary treat at Famous Kabob, sabzee khordan consists of a plateful of dazzlingly fresh cilantro, mint, basil, wedges of red onion and chunks of feta cheese. Stuff these ingredients into the restaurant’s freshly baked-on-the-premises taftoon, a delicious flatbread, and you’ll be launched on a delicious Persian culinary experience. (Hint: if you’re a red meat lover, don’t miss the entrée portion of kabob barg, delectable skewers of marinated filet mignon).
Tasting Plate: Carpe Vino, Auburn
I would never consider visiting Carpe Vino for dinner without ordering the restaurant’s enticing tasting plate as an appetizer. Featuring an array of cured meats, artisanal cheeses and garnishes selected by chef Eric Alexander, the dish will delight diners with delicacies such as the kitchen’s floral-sweet quince paste, pickled spring onions, rustic fennel and Calabrese salami, and Alexander’s lighter-than-air, melt-on-your tongue foie gras and chicken liver mousse.
Almond-Crusted Prawns: Back Wine Bar & Bistro, Folsom
If there’s more than two of you, ask for multiple orders of this irresistible dish – believe me, you won’t want to share. Black Tiger Prawns are coated with almonds and baked, then served up with an electrifying, lusty romesco dunking sauce. This is one of the wine bar’s most popular and beloved appetizers.
Sigara Boregi: Anatolian Table, Rocklin
One of the pleasures of dining at Anatolian Table (and there are many) is biting into the restaurant’s crispy, crackly sigara boregi, a scrumptious, finger-sized Turkish pastry. Made by wrapping feta cheese with phyllo dough, then pan-frying the pastry to a golden brown color, the traditional dish tastes even better when paired with Anatolian Table’s fresh-brewed Turkish tea.
Tom Kha Gai: Lemon Grass Restaurant, Sacramento
Electrify your tastebuds with chef Mai Pham’s vibrant tom kha gai soup – a toe-curlingly fragrant lemongrass-coconut milk broth containing tender chunks of chicken, mushrooms, tomato and fresh basil. Flavorful and exotic, this is one of Lemon Grass’ most enticing menu items.