Small Bite


Buckhorn grill&emdash;

Buckhorn Steak & Roadhouse, Yolo County’s bastion of beef, has finally expanded its meaty offerings to Sacramento. Buckhorn Grill, located at the busy midtown intersection of 18th and L streets, is a casual place where you line up and order at the cash register. And while the restaurant group’s signature char-roasted beef tri-tip is dominant here in many guises, there also are tasty options for those who don’t eat beef&emdash;or any meat, for that matter.

On my first visit, I plowed into the tri-tip platter and was surprised to discover that the most captivating item on the plate was not the meat but the terrific fire-roasted vegetables. I adored the crispy asparagus spears, carrots, onion quarters and roasted chunks of sweet butternut squash. The plate’s handsome pile of mashed potatoes, drenched with gravy, also was a tantalizing distraction. The two slabs of tri-tip were quite good but awfully chewy, giving my jaw muscles a workout. More appealing was the Bayou pepper salmon, whose pumpkin-orange flesh, though slightly dry, was smokily delectable. On another visit, I tried Winters Greens, a fabulous salad of ingredients sourced from&emdash;or near&emdash;Winters. Piled high with fresh mixed lettuces, feather-thin slices of apple, lightly candied walnuts and dried apricots, the salad was bright and lively. And the charbroiled-chicken sandwich, robust and satisfying, was served up with wonderful thin-cut fries that were a big hit at our table.  The roadhouse onions were addictive: a sweet, greasy tangle of deep-fried onion wisps.

Save room for the apple pie, served warm in an oversized ramekin. Juicy, cinnamony apple slices nestle under a thick, flaky crust. Bring a friend to help you eat it&emdash;it would be a shame to leave any behind.   

1801 L St., Sacramento; (916) 446-3757;