First Bite: Cafeteria 15L

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I stopped by the new Cafeteria 15L today and was delighted with its transformation from Mason’s Restaurant. Lively and bright, the space is plainer, more (charmingly) utilitarian and less self-consciously cool than its former incarnation (note: the mind-bending, boy-girl see-through bathroom handwashing stations have not changed). Shelves of glass bottles stuffed with colorful candies hang above the busy kitchen, rough-planked wood tables add a rustic note, and enormous, glittery letters spelling out “Cafeteria” at the back of the restaurant loudly proclaim the new restaurant’s identity. I look forward to balmier weather, when the newly-installed glass garage doors separating diners from busy 15th street outside are rolled up; and in the meantime I’ll be back (several times I’m sure) to sample fun menu items like the smoked trout sandwich and the Hangtown Fry. Good eats I enjoyed today were a chunky, meaty chili (served with a teeny jalapeño cornbread muffin) and the robust grilled chicken sandwich, accompanied by an eye-popping mound of crispy shoestring fries.  * A p.s. to parents: my kids were warmly welcomed.

15th and L Streets, Sacramento; (916) 492-1960; www.cafeteria15l.com