Jamie's Broadway Grille
Sacramento, CA 95818
It has been over 35 years since I last visited Sacramento. I can remember that trip with my parents vividly because it was on that family vacation that I started collecting baseball cards. I was crazy for them. Every store, gas station, mall, antique shop, tourist attraction, or anywhere I thought they would sell them, I would look for them and buy them if they were there. Fast forward to the present and I have long since stashed all of my baseball cards in the back of my closet, and now when I travel instead of looking for cards with a stale piece of gum, I look for restaurants to eat at.
Up in Northern California for a wedding, we got out of the airport around 6 pm and made our way to one of the restaurants on my list for this weekend, Jamie's Broadway Grille. I had seen this place on Diner's, Drive-In's, and Dives and decided this would definitely be our first stop for dinner. Jamie's was situated just south of the downtown area, near the 5 and 80 interchange, in what I'd describe as an industrial area. In fact, the building that now houses Jamie's used to be an auto garage many years ago.
Since 1986 this has been the location of Jamie's Broadway Grille, that's when proprietor Jamie Bunnell bought the place but kept it pretty much the same from its other incarnations as other restaurants. Wooden floors, a busy bar packed with regulars, a partially separated dining room with assorted big game and beer advertising mounted on the walls all contribute to the neighborhood feel of this restaurant.
Aside from the Triple D episode that brought national acclaim, Jamie's also has been spotlighted in numerous newspaper articles praising everything from their clam chowder, burgers, sandwiches, and steaks. Unfortunately, after 31 years as business owner, Jamie Bunnell passed away two months ago, but we were happy when we entered Jamie's on a recent Friday evening and found out that his legacy lives on, as the bar and dining area was packed during our stay. I was excited to dig in, so let's see if this would be a great opening act for our weekend up north.
Katie started things off for us with the House Salad ($5.95). This salad was pretty good sized and came in a chipped wooden bowl, (yes, this restaurant is no frills). The salad came with plenty of greens, mushrooms, cucumber, green onion, and cherry tomatoes. They make all of their dressings on the premises, and the ranch that Katie got on this was excellent. She felt this was a very fresh and satisfying salad. I had almost forgotten to order the Cup of Clam Chowder ($4.95) that I was so eager to try before coming here, but I flagged down our server and rectified the situation. I immediately regretted not getting the bowl for an extra dollar, because this was a very good version of one of my favorite soups. There were plenty of big pieces of clams in here and the creaminess of this was spot on. I liked that it was not overly filled with potatoes and other veggies. It's easy to see why they go through gallons of this chowder in a week.
Even in the best of marriages, there is sometimes some disagreement. That was the case in this love triangle between Katie and I and this Garlic Steak Sandwich ($8.50 for the half order). She was not in love with it at all. She felt it was light on the garlic, and did not appreciate the toughness of the steak. I, on the other hand, thought it was superb. I could taste the garlic from the roll, I thought the steak was tender and done nicely, and what put this over the top for me was the homemade mayo that was served on the side of this sandwich. I'm a mayo freak, and this was an excellent version. The fries were also solid, crunchy on the outside and the potato inside was creamy. I guess we can agree to disagree on this sandwich.
Hands down the best Prime Rib ($31.95) I have had. It's not on the regular menu, so I'm not sure how often they have it, but if it's available, order it. What set this prime rib apart for me is the fact that they smoke it for six hours over walnut and almond woods. Sometimes the center part of prime rib can be a little on the bland and dry side, but this was flavorful and moist throughout. The outer crust was incredible, and the horseradish-sour cream sauce was a great accompaniment. This came with some potatoes and vegetables, but for the most part, I ignored these to focus on this big slab of beef.
Driving to our motel after eating here, Katie caught me smiling, as I was thinking back on our visit to Jamie's Broadway Grille. I couldn't help but smile after that delicious prime rib. I have had some hit and miss restaurant experiences with some of the Diners, Drive-In's and Dive restaurants I have been to. This was definitely a hit. For those of you reading this in OC, this place reminds me of a way better version of Steer Inn in Orange and Anaheim Hills. A loud rambunctious dining room, and run by a competent and professional staff, we were just off the airplane a mere hour ago, and we were made to feel like a member of their family. Finding Jamie's Broadway Grille brought back to mind the same euphoric feeling I had when I was ten years old and stumbled upon those elusive baseball cards.
Out of five train whistles, (because when I was in Sacramento as a kid we visited the California State Railroad Museum, and one of the souvenirs that I got was a wooden train whistle, which I still have somewhere), five being best to zero being worst, Jamie's Broadway Grille gets 4 train whistles.
For more information about Jamie's Broadway Grille, head to their website here: http://jamiesbroadwaygrille.com/index.html