Andy Mirabell left Sacramento to go to college. Now, the restaurateur has brought his Skool back home with him.
The sister to Mirabell’s San Francisco restaurant with the same name, Skool offers a menu of Japanese-California fusion seafood with a little Italy, France and Spain stirred into the eclectic mix.
“Japanese (cuisine) has such clean flavors,” Mirabell said, “but I’m a California boy, so it’s not just Japanese. It’s a blend.”
His partners in the restaurant include his wife, Olia Kedik, along with chef Toshihiro “Moto” Nagano and his wife, Hiroko.
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“We’re two husband-and-wife teams,” Mirabell said. “I worked with chef Moto long before we opened our first Skool, but we’re all working side by side (at the new Skool).”
Skool opened quietly Feb. 12 at 2319 K St., in midtown Sacramento, in a 60-seat space formally occupied by Anatolian Table, which moved to Rocklin. Skool opens at 5 p.m. for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. On weekends, it serves brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“We plan to add what we call ‘detention hall’ – happy hour – from 5 to 6 p.m. weeknights and 4 to 6 p.m. weekends, with drink specials and bites,” Mirabell said.
Skool features plenty of clever touches to its punny fish/classroom theme. The menu, which changes daily, is printed on lined notebook paper. A giant tuna – diagrammed like a side of beef, illustrating cuts – swims across the ceiling.
Mirabell, a Jesuit High School alumnus, got into the restaurant business while in college at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He teamed up with chef Moto while opening outlets for a chain of sushi restaurants.
While full of fish, there’s no sushi on Skool’s menu.
“We both wanted to give sushi a break,” Mirabell said. “We wanted to make something different.”
Q: Why Sacramento?
A: We’ve been in San Francisco for six years this June. We were always looking to take that next step and expand. We looked all over the Bay Area, but the challenge was finding the right place, and rents are so high. I’m from Sacramento. I really wanted to come back. ...
My wife and I have a 2-year-old daughter, Yana. We moved back to Sacramento (to be closer to his family), but we’re still commuting some days to the Bay Area. What we really like is how Sacramento is so welcoming. Everybody is so nice.
Q: Why K Street?
A: We love the block. It’s a dream for us. Our San Francisco restaurant (in the Design District) really is a challenging location; it’s off the beaten path. There’s no street traffic at all. But this place now has a great area outside. It will be wonderful in the summer. It was so warm opening weekend, we had (diners) outside.
And look what’s happening around us! The evolution of the city is so amazing. Sometimes, you just need to take a leap of faith.
Q: What’s the difference between your San Francisco and Sacramento restaurants?
A: We brought a lot of our signature dishes from the city, but we introduced a whole grilled section (such as grilled squid, oysters and crab legs) to the Sacramento menu. I think it speaks to the market a little bit better.
Q: What are Skool’s specialties?
A: We’re very fish focused; it’s seafood, but not wharfy (like Fisherman’s Wharf). Everything’s seasonal . ... There are some things we’re really known for such as the uni flan (made with fresh sea urchin) or the baby eryngii fries (fried oyster mushrooms breaded with cornmeal). The squid ink spaghettina (with Monterey squid and shrimp) is one of chef Moto’s signature dishes, so we had to have that on the menu. People love our Niçoise salad (with line-caught ahi tuna); that’s the one dish we never drop.
Co-owner, Skool restaurant
Sacramento native returns to his hometown to open a second restaurant.