You may not know that Sacramento, the capitol city of California, actually has a seaport, suitable for Panamax size ships, just across the Sacramento River in the city of West Sacramento. When you think of a seaport, do you think of deep fried fish and chips, clam chowder, beer, and other delicious food? I certaintly do, and when I'm visiting the Port of West Sacramento, I make it a point to stop by Sail Inn Grotto, to enjoy great food, cold beer, and to check out a ship or two.
As with all of reviews that I publish, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: It's early afternoon on Friday, June 21, 2019, and I've docked my truck at Sail Inn Grotto, as I've just come from the Port of West Sacramento, admiring ocean-going bulk freighters, unloading cargo at the port.
The Port of West Sacramento is a small, inland, sea port, located across the Sacramento river from Sacramento, in the city of West Sacramento. The port handles bulk cargo only, and regularly loads/unloads agricultural cargo - mostly rice - machinery and industrial products. The port can handle ships up to, and including "Panamax-size" vessels. On an average one or two ships call on the port in any given week, but there are times when there aren't any ships in port. Click on this link to enjoy the article that I've posted about some of my visits to the port.
Photo: It's a little past 2 in the afternoon, Monday, July 08, 2019, and two ships are in port, as my friend, dining companion, and fellow ship enthusiast Melanie C. snaps a photo of "ISS Breeze," as she takes on a cargo or rice at the Port of West Sacramento. Ship watching in hungry work, so after hiking around the port, and taking photos of ships, we headed to nearby Sail Inn Grotto to enjoy a bite to eat, and a beer.
Sail Inn Grotto has been open, under new ownership, for the past three years. Even the outside of the building has a nautical theme, in keeping with the close location to the port.
Photo: Meet Eric, our friendly waiter, who brings our lunch to us with a smile.
Photo: My friend, dining companion, fellow ship enthusiast and "foodie," Melanie, joined me for lunch, and an afternoon of ship watching at the nearby port. We some, as we know we're going to enjoy a great lunch, and the draft IPA definitely adds a bit more "cheer."
Photo: On my recommendation, my friend and dining companion ordered the "Fish and Chips," which was nearly identical to the delicious lunch of the same that I enjoyed during a previous visit, a couple weeks ago. The major difference was that she ordered garlic fries, rather than "regular" fries.
Melanie absolutely loved the three, beer-battered, deep-fried to a golden brown pieces of fish, and the garlic fry "mountain" the fish were resting on. She ate all the fish, about half the fries, with a little help from me, and took the rest home in a box to enjoy for dinner. She loved her lunch as much as I did!
Photo: Since I'd visited this fine restaurant a couple of weeks ago, I decided to go with something "different," and in keeping with our nautical activities, and the "nautical" theme of the restaurant, I went for an order of "Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl." I am a definite fan of clam chowder served this way.
The clam chowder in made in-house, and it's made in the "New England" style, so if you can say "hold the tomatoes," you've ordered the right bowl of chowder. The bread roll is a fresh roll of French bread, locally sourced from Grateful Bread, and it's about 8 inches in diameter, so it will hold a medium size bowl of chowder. This fine selection is from the "Starters and Sides" section of the menu, but it was definitely filling, and completely worked for a great lunch.
The chowder included everything that makes New England style clam chowder so good, including lots of tasty, cut-up clam meat, diced celery, potato, onion, butter and creamy half and half. Chopped parsley garnished the delicious bowl of soup. It was served in a hollowed-out French bread roll, which made the soup even better.
I tore the top of the bread into pieces and dipped it into the soup... ah, heaven! I tore through the soup with a spoon, and when the bowl was empty, I used my hands and a fork - cave man style - to finish the bread. Such a delicious lunch!
When you're in the mood for fine dining, with a nautical theme, head over to Sail Inn Grotto, located in West Sacramento, CA.
Let's go back to a previous visit on Friday, June 21, 2019...
It's early afternoon on Friday, June 21, 2019, and I've docked my truck at Sail Inn Grotto, as I've just come from the Port of West Sacramento, admiring ocean-going bulk freighters, unloading cargo at the port.
Photo: Sail Inn Grotto is definitely a bar, but the dining room is family-friendly, along with the menu, and there's an outside patio for your dining pleasure. As you enter the restaurant, you'll not the sign that advises you to "Grab a menu and order at the bar," ... so that's what you do.
After you place your order, you seat yourself at the table of your choice, and when your order is ready, it will be brought to your table. Like all sit-down restaurants, you pay for your meal before you leave.
Photo: The centerpiece of the large dining room is the full-service bar, which many beers on tap, and more in the bottle. Note the dark, "old school" wood that the bar and the furniture is made of, and the nautical theme of the restaurant. Since the restaurant is located near the seaport, the decor works well.
The room is decorated with model ships, paintings and photos of ships, and of course several television monitors that are tuned to whatever sporting event happens to be in progress. On this early Friday afternoon, I had the pleasure to watch a golf tournament, as I sipped beer and enjoyed my delicious lunch of fish and chips.
Photo: Specials, which regularly change, are posted on "old school" blackboards near the back of the dining room. The big pots to the left contain ice water and ice tea, which are complimentary.
Photo: The menu is quite extensive, and this is the "Land and Sea" section. I note the restaurant is open on weekends for brunch, which seems like an outstanding idea, for a restaurant that specializes in seafood. I looked over the entire menu, but in the end, I was hooked on the "Fish and Chips."
Photo: There is a family-friendly patio for your dining pleasure, and a sort of playground is set up for the enjoyment of the kiddos. It's shaded by matures shades, bushes and vines, and fenced, so you don't have to worry about your kids, as they enjoy their visit to this wonderful restaurant.
Photo: Model of a fully-rigged man-of-war makes a perfect display in one of the front windows. The white Ford truck in the parking lot is mine.
Photo: The kitchen isn't open, so to speak, but as you pass through the hallway to the outside patio, you can catch a glimpse of the chef at work, in the kitchen. In the photo, he's cooking burgers for the party that's dining on the patio.
Photo: I sat at the bar, which is the center of attention in the restaurant. There were two staff members working the restaurant on this early Friday afternoon, Kevin, the bartender/waiter, and the talented chef in the kitchen. The lighting is actually on the dim side, as the photo really doesn't capture the unique lighting effect. Kevin is at the window to the kitchen, waiting to pick up an order.
Photo: In keeping with the nautical theme of the restaurant, a blue marlin graces the centerpiece of the bar. The nautical theme really works, as the restaurant is located near the port, which is actually an inland seaport for ocean-going cargo ships.
Photo: The chef has finished cooking the orders for the parties on the patio, and has placed the orders on the kitchen window, that faces the bar. Kevin will bring the orders to the diners outside. This is definitely "old school" and I love everything about it!
Photo: Meet Kevin, the friendly bartender/waiter who brings my lunch to my place at the bar with a smile. Kevin treated me well, and is truly a nice guy.
My meal arrived about 20 minutes after I placed my order, which is just about right. Sail Inn Grotto doesn't serve fast food; they serve delicious food, as each order is sourced from fresh ingredients, and custom prepared.
Photo: Thanks, Kevin, for snapping my photo, as I prepare to enjoy my delicious lunch. This was the only photo taken using flash, as I detest flash, and only use it as a last resort.
Photo: I looked over the extensive menu, but in the end, I went with the "Sail Inn Hand-Dipped Fish and Chips," as fish and chips is one of my all-time favorite entrees. It was tough, as there were many other menu choices, such as "Clam Chowder in a Bread Bowl," calling my name, but the fish and chips got my number.
The menu describes this delightful entree as "Beer battered California rock cod, hand-dipped fresh with each order. Served with French fries, house-made lemon-caper tartar sauce, and lemon wedges." If you prefer shrimp rather than fish, or if you want a combination of fish and shrimp, add a couple extra bucks and it's yours. I opted for the fish, as there isn't hardly anything on this earth that I love more than a plate of fish and chips, hot out of the deep fryer. Which is exactly what you get at Sail Inn Grotto...
You get three, large, deep-fried pieces of cod, placed on a mountain of fries. Like the menu says, the fillets are dipped into a beer batter, and deep fried to a perfect, golden brown on the outside, and chewy, tender white on the inside. I used my hands to eat this delicious fish, and as I bit into a piece, a small amount of white meat fell on my place and I noted the meat is "flaky," just the way fresh, tender fish should be. These cod fillets are GOOD! No, they're GREAT!!! There was no taste of oil, just the tender fish, and the crispy batter that enhanced the fish, but didn't over power it. I dipped each piece into the tartar sauce, and with each bite I smiled, and thought that I'd died and gone to heaven.
The fries were perfectly deep fried, as they were crispy golden on the outside, and tender on the inside, and not salty or greasy. I noted there was a great selection of fries, anywhere from individuals maybe four inches long, to crispy, little pieces. Naturally, the "small fries," pun intended, were crispier than the "big guys," which really made a nice mix. I must confess that I dipped many of the smaller fries in ketchup, as I really love the taste of ketchup with fries. I suppose it brings the "kid" out in me...
This lunch was delicious! The fish and the fries were perfectly cooked, and arrived hot from the kitchen, ready to enjoy. If you're a lover of fish and chips, you owe it to yourself to dock at Sail Inn Grotto and ... enjoy!
As the menu states, Sail Inn Grotto is located "between the devil and the deep blue sea," but it's actually located on Jefferson Blvd., about a half mile from the Port of West Sacramento. If you enjoy great seafood, cold beer, friendly staff, and dining with a nautical theme, dock your car at Sail Inn Grotto, located in West Sacramento, California. Bon voyage!
Sail Inn Grotto
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