Local Roots Tour Guide, Bethany Heckman steps behind the Italian deli counter at Sampino’s Towne Foods.
If you’ve ever stepped foot inside Sampino’s you’ll know the physical reaction you have to the place. Instantly, your taste buds awaken, you’re sense of smell ignites and you are quickly ready for one thing: Ready. To. Eat.
Coming from an Italian family myself, I knew that I would instantly fall in love with this place. My grandparents both came from Italy and opened a deli/restaurant similar to this one in Northern California. The minute I tried the food, I was hooked.
If you are seeking fresh, local and mouth-watering food- look no further than Sampino’s. Tucked away next to a Laundromat, fast food Chinese and a bail bonds company, you would never expect this little hidden jewel on the fast paced 16th Street.
Sampino’s is one of our tour stops on our Local Roots Food Tour; City of Trees. Sampino’s has quickly become an instant favorite. Tastings of button and porcini mushroom risotto to the handmade mezzaluna stuffed pastas and cappuccino/pistachio gelato, Sampino’s has a knack for food which is why we chose them to be on our food tour!
Owners father Bill, his son Michael and daughter in law Gabi have turned Sampinos into a tucked away hot spot. But the word has gotten out about this treasure. So much so, Sampino’s is launching their debut dinner menu this Friday night, August 26. The owners of Sampino’s have seen the demand their customers are looking for. Food after 4 pm. Chef Craig Takehara has joined the Sampino team by donating many hours of his time while teaming with the Sampinos in creating a dinner menu that speaks right to one’s palate. Chef Takehara will be joining the Sampino Team if these dinners go as well as anticipated. “We looked around for someone with the same values we cherish. Quality food, fresh ingredients and a devotion to service. That is what this family business is about,” says owner Michael. “There are plenty of chefs in the area but we feel we found the one that will best fit in with us here at Sampino’s.” Chef Takehara has lived primarily in Los Angeles but was trained mostly in Japan. “You may think it’s odd to have a Japanese chef at an authentic Italian restaurant, but you’d be surprised,” says Takehara. “I learned the most about Italian cooking while in Japan. The Japanese are passionate about noodles and rice. Similar to Italian cooking.”
It was only appropriate the Sampino’s begin a lovely dinner menu. They have been taking reservation and are expecting around 35-40 people this Friday for their debut seating. Sampino’s will begin service seated in the Italian style- long tables with LARGE amounts of food. Arrival and seating begins at 6pm and antipasti will begin promptly at 6:30pm. Fresh baked bread will appear on the table (fococcacia, Italian loaves) with a fennel balsamic vinaigrette dipping sauce. Antipasti will be served next: Assorted olives, giardiniera (picked vegetables) and pepperoncini. (While living all over Italy for over a year, this is as close as you get to accurate Italian food here in the United States.) Zuppa (soup) is the next course and Sampino’s will be serving a mouth watering Tomato Mozzarella Cream Bisque. Let me tell you: It’s. To. Die. For. Not full yet?
The Primi Piatti is next: A Timbale (a puff pastry with penne pasta, meatballs, hard boiled quail eggs, salami, mushrooms, marinara sauce and parmesan cheese… yes, that’s all one dish!) Then a beautiful Risotto: Sicilian fennel sausage with porcini mushrooms AND (yes, AND) a salmon mousse, clam and shrimp risotto. NOT. DONE. YET.
Next is your choice of the Chicken Cacciatore of the Wild Salmon Roulade. (both come with a Tapanade Rubbed Artichoke side) and sticking to Italian tradition is the salad, served at the end of the meal, just to cleanse the palate. A lovely mixed green salad with parmesan, organic San Marzano tomatoes and topped with an Italian herb vinaigrette. Still have room? Sampino’s doesn’t stop there. The last item served, and one that will stick with you on the ride home, is the lemon sorbetto with a strawberry mint tartar.
Being from an Italian family, I will be honest in saying the portions are not meager. They will stuff you to the max, and then stuff you some more. Just like my grandmother. Michael says, “We want the public to see what we can do with food. We want to have them leave happy and full.”
Full, you will be. Trust me. Sampino’s also serves a lovely selection of hand picked wines and beers. Bill chooses all the wines based on what he likes and what he believes goes best with the meal.
Oh, did I mention that the price for this outstanding meal is $25 per person? Yes, you read it right. $25.
Chef Takehara says, “I’ve taken recipies from grandparents, uncles, fathers and mothers and tried to take them to the next level. I appreciate the history behind these recipes and we’ve found a great way to reveal them to the public. We want them to see what real Italian cuisine is like. “
If you haven’t already set up a reservation at Sampino’s call today. I have a feeling this is going to be a great hit and a wonderful addition to the neighborhood.
If you want to sample off Sampino’s menu but the reservation list is LONG for this wonderful Italian meal experience….please join us on our culinary walking tour which is offered Tues, Thursday, Friday and Saturdays. Join us as we take our tour participants on a fun and filling food tour all while learning about unique mom and pop eateries such as Sampinos. We will even introduce you to the Sampino Family! Ora che è italiana!
Sampino’s Towne Foods
1607 F St
Sacramento, CA 95814