Winter Menus at The Firehouse

Winter is here, and so are the new menus at The Firehouse! Launched on January 24, Chef Deneb showcases his skillfully crafted menu items that are sure to warm the palates of all who set foot in The Firehouse this winter. The Firehouse offers the best fresh and seasonal ingredients from the Sacramento region, proving there is an option for everyone whether for lunch or dinner. In fact, it is the “wide array of local vegetables prepared with global culinary influences,” according to Chef Deneb that he believes guests at The Firehouse will enjoy the most.


Lobster-Parnsip Bisque

The fresh, local ingredients Chef Deneb refers to on the winter menu include the Lobster-Parnsip Bisque. This delectable soup with caramelized leeks, potatoes and fennel, and cream sherry-infused lobster velouté is a fantastic option as an appetizer for lunch or as a course to dinner. This dish is the perfect example of one with local vegetables (the leeks from Yolo County’s Del Rio Botanicals), and a “global culinary influence” with the French sauce, velouté. Chef Deneb is confident that this soup will warm guests during their dining experience, while satisfying any appetite.

Chef Deneb is not shy about embracing new ingredients for the shift to winter. When asked what his favorite winter ingredient is, he responded with, “Winter greens, hard squash, citrus, root vegetables, warm exotic spices…oh, that was more than one.” Essentially, the same amount of care goes in to each dish that Chef Deneb makes no matter which ingredients he is using. The cold smoked then chargrilled Boliche Pork Tenderloin is a prime model as it is cooked to perfection and served with Cuban spices (just one example of an exotic spice Chef Deneb is so fond of), and embellished with pepitas chorizo-black bean-red pepper-quinoa sofrito.


Boliche Pork Tenderloin

One of Chef Deneb’s preferred menu items is the Duck with Blood Oranges, although he said that he loves all menu items the same, because the same flawless attention goes into creating each item. The Duck with Blood Orange has blood orange molasses, coriander and roasted beets, and spiced sweet potato confit hash: a mixture of some of Chef’s favorite winter items!

To top off the best attributes of the lunch and dinner menu is the dessert menu created by Pastry Chef, Nichol Santisteven. What else completes a meal but dessert? The Black Forest Baked Hot Chocolate dessert is a melt-in-your-mouth delight. Kirsch baked hot chocolate, malted chocolate Chantilly served with dried cherry and pistachio biscotti complete this ensemble for a heavenly mixture of chocolate-y goodness.

The menus at The Firehouse change seasonally, and there is a lot of creativity that goes on behind the scenes to make these menus a steadfast representative of Sacramento’s most notorious restaurant. “It takes months of collaboration, trial and error, and perfecting each recipe,” said Chef Deneb. “The menus are something I work on 24/7. Some of my best ideas come in the middle of the night, or while I’m distracted with something completely unrelated to food. Mostly it’s my lifelong obsession with food, and learning what I don’t know that keeps driving new menus.”


Duck with Blood Oranges

The Firehouse has long been a Sacramento favorite in fine dining and cuisine, and Chef Deneb does not disappoint with the new winter menu options. “Our menus’ diversity is what sets The Firehouse apart from other restaurants,” said Chef Deneb. Truer words have seldom been spoken! To see the full lunch, dinner and dessert menus, please visit The Firehouse website.

Lindy Gervin

Published in: on January 27, 2014 at 4:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Looking Back: 50 Years of Fine Dining and Exceptional Service at The Firehouse (Part IV)

Information provided by Mario Ortiz, Firehouse wine director, general manager and sommelier.

As is the case with most restaurants, winter – December in particular – is our busiest season.

With Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year’s Eve all in the same month, it’s easy to picture The Firehouse overflowing with families, co-workers, friends and – on occasion – an A-list celebrity, politician or athlete.

December 1981 was no exception, as Weinstocks, a Sacramento-based department store, chose to honor its “Art of Giving” campaign with a reception at The Firehouse. As part of the campaign, the store had commissioned legendary artist and pop-culture icon Andy Warhol to silkscreen the images of 10 of America’s most-beloved fantasy characters.

The reception was small, consisting mainly of Warhol, his entourage, Weinstocks employees and local art supporters. It was held in the Firehouse’s Courtyard Grill, which is known for being private, classy and a bit mysterious – a perfect match for Warhol’s personality.

I remember the night like it was yesterday. Warhol wore jeans, a royal blue blazer and tennis shows. His silvery-white hair had that “I just got out of bed” look.

I was working as the banquet manager at the time, which meant I played a large role in the night’s festivities. It also helped that I was close with the event’s organizers, Frank and Sue, who arranged for me to speak and share a glass of wine with Warhol.

We spoke of his art and the icons he chose, especially the Superman screen, which I was especially interested in. He told me to come by the store the following morning and he would personally sell it to me. I agreed, stopped by the following morning, made the purchase and remain fascinated by it to this very day.

He and I also spoke of restaurants. He told me about a dinner he had attended at Maxim’s in Paris. A dinner which Firehouse patron and legendary boxer Muhammad Ali attended, and where he spoke highly of The Firehouse.

Mother’s Day at The Firehouse: A Springtime Tradition

Awarded Best Restaurant to Take Mom, Best Outdoor Dining and Best Special Occasion restaurant, The Firehouse and its special Mother’s Day Brunch Menu is sure to delight everyone…especially mom!

Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 9.  The Brunch Menu is $44.95 per person and $14.95 per child for the Children’s Menu (ages 12 and under).  Children three and under may enjoy the Starter Buffet for free.

Please see the link below for the full menu.

In support of the Crocker Art Museum’s 125th anniversary, The Firehouse is donating 15 percent of its sales from May 8 to 15 to the Crocker Art Museum. 

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Easter at The Firehouse: A Long Held Tradition

Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 4, and costs $39.95 per adult and $14.95 for children aged 4 to 12. Children 3 and under may enjoy the Starter Buffet for free.

Please see the link below for the full menu…

Reservations are required.  To make reservations, visit or call (916) 442-4772.

 The Firehouse will also be open for dinner from 5 to 9:30 pm.

Awarded Best Outdoor Dining and Special Occasion restaurant, The Firehouse has seating in both the courtyard and Courtyard Grill.

Published in: on March 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Looking Back: 50 Years of Fine Dining and Exceptional Service at The Firehouse

Mario Ortiz is the general manager, wine director and sommelier for The Firehouse restaurant in Old Sacramento.

During his 38-plus years at The Firehouse, Mario has had the pleasure of serving – and on occasion socializing with – an incredible list of people, both famous and otherwise.

His time at The Firehouse reads like all great stories do, and it, much like his life, revolves around great wine, great food and great people.

In October 2007, Ortiz was awarded The Career of Excellence Award by The California Restaurant Association.

Coming Soon: Look for Mario’s first blog post…

Published in: on March 12, 2010 at 6:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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People are talking about us!

With only a month or so of blogging under our belts we are feeling comfortable in the blogoshpere thanks to our fellow bloggers. Check them out!

What’s My Deal
This local blogger is talking about our Wine Tasting Tuesday’s. She loved the good deal, the sparkling wine and Paul’s knowledge.

Stout Photography
One local photographer gets married at the Firehouse and another captures it on film and blogs about it! The couple got ready at the Citizen Hotel and the photos at both locations are beautiful.

Thanks to our fellow bloggers. Once we get better at this we hope to return the favor.

Published in: on August 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Me & the Society of Wine Educators

Wine Educators logo

This a guest post by Mario Ortiz, General Manager and Sommelier of The Firehouse.

The 33rd Annual Conference of the Society of Wine Educators was held July 27 through August 1, here in Sacramento. I was invited to participate on a panel of Master Sommeliers to discuss the characteristics and issues surrounding being named to Wine Spectator’s Grand Award wine list. The discussion included marketing, storage, corkage, style, size and mark-up.  It was an honor to be part of this panel, which also included:

  • Tim Gaiser, Master Sommelier, Director of Educational American Chapter of Court of Master Sommeliers, NY
  • David Glancy – Master Sommelier, Certified Wine Educator, Wine School
  • Len Schults – Co-founder, CEO,
  • Paul Roberts – Master Sommelier, Estate Sommelier, Bond Estates, Harlan Estate, French Laundry, Per Sé, Bouchon and Ad Hoc
  • Alfonso Cevola – Writer and wine Director in Italy, “On the Wine Trails in Italy”

The discussion was passionate and knowledgeable. The group was particularly animated about Wine Spectator giving the Award of Excellence to a FAKE restaurant! The “restaurant”,  Osteria L’Intrepido, submitted a wine list with the following wines:

  • Amorone Classico “La Fabriseria” 1998 (Veneto) Tedeschi, 185.00 Euros. Wine Spectator Rating: 60 points.  “Unacceptable.  Sweet and Cloying.  Smells like bug spray.”
  • Banbaresco ASIJ, 1985. (Piedmonte) Ceretto, 135.00 Euros, Wine Spectator rating: 64 points.  “…Earthy, swampy, gamy, harsh and tannic…”

Following the riveting discussion,  some of us had lunch at The Firehouse with two M.S’s and two CWE’s Sommeliers. Paul Roberts, Master Sommelier, chose the 1998, Bordeaux, La Mission, Haut Brion from our cellar.  It was simply magnificent – with rose petals dipped in chocolate, tobacco and intense dusty tannins – with a long seamless finish.  My choice was to follow with the 2004 Bond Pluribus from Napa Valley – a Latour-like POWERHOUSE that has great balance, layers of rich black fruit and was enjoyed by all.

One of the highlights of the lunch was the agreement that Paul would partner with The Firehouse in one of our wine dinner programs (thanks to the 1998 La Mission, Haut Brion).  This will be one of the special dinners that you surely will not want to miss.  The World Famous Harlan Estates Napa Valley, Bond Estates Napa Valley and The Firehouse Wine Makers Dinner in early 2010.

Published in: on August 4, 2009 at 5:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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