The Dining Divas: Dawson’s American Bistro and Martinis



Teresa M. Cordi of Live Oak, an assistant principal and co-owner of the Cordi almond orchards; Juleah M. Cordi, sophomore political science major at Dominican University of California in San Rafael; Maria Manning, semi-retired attorney; and Ed Manning, public affairs/lobbyist

Dawson’s American Bistro and Martinis, Hyatt Regency Sacramento, 1209 L St., Sacramento; (916) 321-3600;

Benefiting Organizations:
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Rotary Club of Sacramento’s Bids for Kids

1-second review:
We tend to forget there is a nice restaurant with great food at the Hyatt.&emdash;Diva Gayla Mace

Special treatment: Dawson’s, the fine-dining restaurant at the Hyatt (celebrating its 20th anniversary this month), normally doesn’t serve lunch, but the hotel agreed to create a special meal for the Divas. The chef likes a challenge, said Brenda Miller, director of sales and marketing. Ulrich Samietz, general manager, welcomed us with flutes of Pierre Morlet Brut Ros Champagne, while food and beverage director Patrick Joseph Fahey served the wines. Executive chef Ian Libberton designed a four-course meal with imaginative touches.

Ambiance: The dining areas, all done up in dark, old-world woods, can provide private and semiprivate settings. Ours definitely was private. The well-illuminated bar provided light and a touch of conviviality.

The menu:
Frise, arugula and red endive salad with a cooked quail egg, applewood-smoked bacon, Roquefort crostini and Champagne vinaigrette; a trio of appetizers (duck confit with banana squash pure; olive oil-poached artichoke heart with artichoke chips; and pan-seared scallop Provençal); petite fillet of beef with barnaise, Cabernet demi-glace and Roquefort crème sauces; and poached meringue with mixed berry compote and biscotti dust.

The wines: Trione Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley 2006; Franciscan Oakville Estate Cuve Sauvage Chardonnay Carneros 2003; Elliott Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004; and Kiona Vineyards Winery Chenin Blanc Ice Wine Yakima Valley. Diva Joan Leineke agreed with Fahey that the Cab would improve in a couple of years.

We praised the presentation of each course and especially liked the oversize square plates and individual containers of sauce. Said Diva Bernice Hagen: The service could not have been better. 

Quote of the day: Don’t live life with the brakes on, said Juleah Cordi.

Chatter: Advice for crème brûle aficionados from Divas Joan Leineke and Paulette Bruce and guest Teresa Cordi: Forget the itty-bitty torch for caramelizing the dessert’s top and get the heavy-duty propane flamethrower from the garage.

The Dining Divas&emdash;Gloria Glyer, Paulette Bruce, Bernice Hagen, Joan Leineke, Gayla Mace and Peg Tomlinson-Poswall&emdash;have been wining and dining together since 1993. Every month, they lunch at an area restaurant, taking as their guests people who placed winning bids at charity events. To date, they have raised more than $279,000 for local charities and nonprofits.