Apr 01, 2013 10:15AM
● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.
Draped in black and red paint, 36 Handles—
which opened in early December—may seem like a brooding pub replete with dark corners and standoffish patrons, but step inside and you’ll find that restaurateur Richard Righton (of nearby Relish Burger Bar and Bidwell Street Bistro), has created a warm and open locale where the jersey-clad cheery staff are serving up hearty food and quality brews with a side of cool-kid swagger.
Relax with a game of darts or shuffleboard and head to the namesake 36 tap handles for a Guinness (or if you’re in a local mood, try the Old Town Brown by Auburn Alehouse); be sure to check out the charmingly old-school chalkboard for a list of what’s featured on the eight rotating taps.
The menu spans the usual pub offerings, from familiar dishes with a twist to the wholly unexpected. A charcuterie plate appetizer seems counterintuitive, but is sure to please. The jalapeño bacon mac & cheese—with its roasted jalapeños, bacon, garlic and Parmesan breadcrumbs—takes a childhood classic from “comfort food” to a “transcendent delight.” It’s merciful that it’s an appetizer, because I would definitely eat a meal-sized portion (knowing I shouldn’t).
Fish & Chips
The pub-menu staple fish & chips comes with an option of cod, haddock (cod’s slightly sweeter cousin) or salmon, in either panko or classic deep-fried versions. Another menu highlight is the macho bacon wrapped meatloaf, made with certified Angus beef and ground pork, then topped with a brandied mushroom sauce and crispy onion straws.
Other enticing menu offerings include the corned beef Reuben with braised cabbage on marble rye, and on the lighter side a salmon wonton salad, with butter and iceberg lettuce, sliced almonds, wonton strips, preserved lemon, roasted red pepper and citrus vinaigrette.
With food this good it may seem impossible, but you must save room for dessert—the Guinness bread pudding served with vanilla bean ice cream and Bourbon caramel sauce is so good you’ll be asking for extra to take home.
36 Handles, 1010 White Rock Road, El Dorado Hills, 916-941-3606, 36handles.com.
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