Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Matteo's Pizza & Bistro in Carmichael
So after our positive experience at Ten 22 the Bon and I decided to refer back to Sacramento Magazine's best restaurants edition to find another place to eat at. We were flipping through the pages and reading comments when it was as if the "food force" grabbed us and directed us to page 103 and the following full page picture...
I looked at Bon and said "OMG, the force is strong with this one" and we immediately hopped into my Jeep and raced at warp speed toward Carmichael.
We pulled into the parking lot and I noticed right away that there was a nice patio with umbrella's for outdoor seating; which for me is always a bonus. Bon and I headed inside and were greeted by two smiling hostesses and I immediately felt relaxed and comfortable. I emphasized smiling because I feel many businesses (restaurants in particular) in an effort to seem sophisticated, and classy, forget the simplest rule of customer service - smile to welcome your guests, it lets them know you want them there.
As I glanced around I noted muted and warm colors, soft lighting and the hum of people chatting. There were plenty of tables, a full bar (with flat screens) an adjoining room with tables, booths, and the patio seating I noted earlier...Overall, just the right size for a neighborhood place.
As Bon and I were reviewing, and discussing, the menu I noticed a man in the corner of the room with his laptop computer and I thought ~ how nice that they have Internet access...A few minutes later the man came over to our table and introduced himself as Matt Woolston the owner of the restaurant.
We probably frightened Mr. Woolston with our just out of the trailer park enthusiasm but fortunately for us he was very patient and answered all of our questions and even explained to us about his vision of a casual neighborhood pizza type place for the family run Matteo's. And, we even got to meet Mr. Woolston's son Jake who was working bussing tables.
To begin our meal we ordered what else? the calamari. The Bon decided to have the sirloin (from the picture) and I opted for the California pizza. I ordered my usual water and Bon ordered a Lemon Martini from the bar.
The Calamari arrived and let me tell you folks if Mr. Woolston weren't married I might have dropped to one knee and proposed...I have ranked this calamari as the second best I have ever had! A HUGE plate of calamari was placed on the table and as I greedily snatched a forkful of yummy squidness I was totally unprepared for the flavor explosion that hit me.
The calamari had been prepared perfectly and was seasoned with I dont know what goodness and was then combined with battered onion straws. OH MY HOLY GOD PEOPLE! I would love to wax poetic about the awesomeness of this dish, but honestly I wouldn't do it justice. What I can tell you is that it was fan-freaking-tastic!
The steak and pizza soon followed and my pizza was excellent. There was grilled chicken, a light sauce, goat cheese, bacon and sun dried tomatoes with a perfectly cooked crust. Sadly, I had eaten so much calamari I had to ask for a box to take my pizza home, but I can report that the pizza was even better cold the next morning for breakfast.
Bon's steak was gorgeous, seasoned to perfection, tender and covered in a burgundy demi-glace that was truly sublime. I enjoyed the bite of steak that I sampled immensely, however, my (and Bon's) only complaint of the evening was that the sirloin was served well done and she had ordered it rare...A huge disappointment if you are a red meat eater. The steak was served with fresh veggies of the season including grilled corn, string beans, potatoes, etc.
Mr. Woolston's vision of a casual pizza type place is certainly on the mark as far as the setting, however, his flavorful and creative dishes elevate Matteo's to something much, much more than a neighborhood cafe; and I will definitely be returning to try several more of their dishes.
Bottom line, Matteo's is a must try for anyone who enjoys really good food.