Appetizers
March 5, 2008
Familiarity Rules

Sacramentans prefer restaurants that serve American food, steaks and Italian dishes, to judge by one narrow gauge of local dining tastes. Each week, the online restaurant-reservation service Open Table lists the top 10 local restaurants where diners are booking tables. In the Sacramento area, 53 restaurants use the system, most of them white-tablecloth destinations.

During the past week, diners who used Open Table clearly preferred to eat at Ruth's Chris Steak House. The two local branches, one in Sacramento, the other in Roseville, finished first and second in the top 10. In order of ranking, they were followed by McCormick & Schmick's, Ella Dining Room and Bar, Esquire Grill, Morton's The Steakhouse, the Sacramento branch of Il Fornaio, Paul Martin's American Bistro in Roseville, Spataro's Restaurant and Bar and Mason's Restaurant.

As a measure of popularity, the list should be taken lightly. For one, it doesn't say how many diners actually made and honored reservations at the listed restaurants. And the sampling is small. While the 53 participating restaurants include several of the area's more critically acclaimed dinner houses, such as Mulvaney's Building & Loan and The Waterboy, it doesn't include many others, like Lemon Grass and Biba, which could have equal or higher reservation counts not measured by Open Table. But the list does seem to say that when Sacramentans eat out at higher-end restaurants they do like both traditional and contemporary American food, beef and Italian, at least they did this past week.

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