5530 Douglas Blvd., Granite Bay (916) 791-6200 www.hawksrestaurant.com
Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. Dinner: 5-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday. Sunday night dinner is dubbed as "Sunday Supper" with a prix fixe four-course menu for $40 per person, plus a 25 percent discount on all bottles of wine.
Brunch is served on the second Sunday of every month from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for $24 for two courses or $28 for three courses, and $12 for endless mimosas.
Happy hour: 2:30-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 2:30-9 p.m. Wednesday
The real steal: For sipping, choose from five cocktails, two wines and the Hawks IPA, which is brewed in-house. Among the five $8 cocktails, the Hawks Lemon Drop and Hawks Grapefruit Drop are part of the regular menu. The Cherry Smash, the Vanilla Bourbon Sour and the Pomegranate Cosmopolitan are made specifically for happy hour. For $5 to $6, there are a red and a white wine; the house-brewed Hawks IPA is $3.
Appetizers range from $4 to $14, with options such as garlic french fries with parmesan and parsley, or fried mac 'n' cheese with an oven- roasted tomato sauce. Since happy hour occurs between the lunch and dinner menu times, there are a couple of slightly more substantial dishes, such as the $9 Caesar salad with sourdough croutons, boquerones and Parmesan, or the Hawks Burger, which comes with french fries, aioli, and pickled cucumbers for $14.
The vibe: The light-gray walls and the contrasting dark wood, the white marble bar top and matching bistro tables, and the slightly darker gray bar chairs add to the elegant vibe. The bar and lounge area greets you with a flat-screen TV, a mirrored wall of liquor behind the bar, a black chandelier and additional seating at four marble-topped round tables, oversized bench and chairs. Between the lounge and the restaurant, you can eye the wine cellar through a glass door and glass walls. The dining area has an upscale feel with white linen tablecloths, and some of the tables give diners a quick peek into the kitchen. Plenty of windows around the restaurant let in sunlight. The back patio, with its view of Quarry Pond and a fire pit to keep you cozy on a cool evening, is a favorite even on a winter day.
Signature drink: Out of the five cocktails listed on the happy hour menu, only the Hawks Lemon Drop and Hawks Grapefruit Drop were not made specifically for happy hour since they are so popular already. The Hawks Lemon Drop is the top choice cocktail at this restaurant. This $8 drink is made with a house- made limoncello, Ketel One Citron vodka and fresh- squeezed lemon juice for a bold and intense burst of flavor. Well balanced are a touch of sweetness, a slight tartness and an overall citrus flavor. The limoncello starts with Everclear infused with lemon zest that marinates for approximately a month.
Similarly, the Hawks Grapefruit Drop owes its fresh flavor to Everclear infused with ruby-red grapefruit zest and marinated for about a month. Both these cocktails tend to stay very true to the fruit with a refreshing taste.
Something extra: Charcuterie is the art of curing meats. Hawks doesn't buy meat from an outside vendor for the charcuterie plate, but instead makes the salami, pancetta, liverwurst, ciccioli and other select meats in-house. For instance, the salami and pancetta are dry-cured, which means they're salted and left to dry in the kitchen before being served. The Charcuterie Plate offered at dinner or by request at lunch lets you sample seven meats for $16. During happy hour you can sample a smaller version for $14. The Artisan Meat and Cheese Board gives you three meats, along with pickled veggies and cheese, so you can try it before moving on to the larger option.
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Morgans Bar and Grill
3348 S St., Sacramento
Hours: 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Happy hour: 3-6 p.m. Monday through Friday
The deals: Select from $2 well drinks, Bud Light or kamikazes at this bar and grill. It also has full-priced appetizers for around $5 to $6 such as potato shots potato skins shaped like shot glasses and bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.