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Style Magazine

Fire Rock Grill

Jul 01, 2014 12:18PM ● By Style

Fried Risotto Balls – Photography by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group

The historic, century-old stone-columned building that housed the former Sheepherder’s Inn on Folsom Boulevard has again lit up with vibrant energy—thanks to a $200,000 makeover by the passionate and attentive team running Fire Rock Grill.

The spacious venue smacks of modern sensibility (I noticed a patron near the entrance making use of a nearby electrical outlet during her meal), but the contrasting tan walls and darkly painted trusses hark back to the history that makes the space so homey and comforting. That relaxed feeling is reflected in the new-American-style menu, too, which showcases some cleverly refreshing tropical and Latin deviations.

Upon arrival, my dining companion and I were greeted by several friendly folks and ushered to the bar. The Peach Smash cocktail with Crown Royal Black, lemon, ginger, simple syrup, peach nectar, honey and bitters was a tipsy way to pass the time; not long thereafter, we landed at a cushy booth in the sprawling dining room.

It’s fairly common for menus to have a crab cake appetizer, but this one came out with a twist. Accompanying the moist cakes were fried risotto balls that were crunchy on the outside and molten-gooey savory in the middle.

I ordered the house burger, which featured a hefty portion of sirloin served on a crispy toasted bun with perky, sweet onion-fennel marmalade and a delicate smoky Gouda mayo.
My husband opted for the pan-seared salmon (it’s among the offerings influenced by more far-flung locales), which was topped with a mango salsa and served on a bed of buttery polenta with a side of perfectly steamed seasonal veggies. It proved to be a hearty and slightly indulgent—and therefore decidedly American—take on a popular dish with tropical flair.

One of the biggest surprises of the night came on the dessert menu, with the signature fried Oreo cookies. It was truly a taste of the State Fair, as the cookies were dipped in funnel-cake-like batter and deep-fried. In case that wasn’t enough, it came with cookies and cream ice cream too. And yes, I’d be happy to split one of those with you!

Fire Rock Grill - Rancho Cordova, CA