Wednesday night I visited yet another steakhouse, this time Suede Blue. I was joined by my friend Eric for dinner. Suede Blue is a relatively upscale steakhouse and seafood restaurant at the corner of North Sunrise and Eureka, right next to both CarMax and the AutoMall. I say upscale because besides say, Ruth’s Chris or La Provance, I can’t think of anything else that is really towards the higher end in Roseville, and if I can walk into Ruth’s Chris wearing a T-Shirt and have some creme brûlée in the bar, then it’s not really that upscale. In fact, I don’t think there is a single restaurant in Roseville with any kind of even remotely strict dress code. Anyway, yes, so Suede Blue has been on my radar since they showed up years ago, replacing the Carver’s Steaks that previously occupied the location. I was aware that it was a steakhouse and that it was probably one of the nicer restaurants in town, but that’s about it. I had never been to Carver’s so I didn’t really know the building either.
We arrived at about 6:15PM and strolled into the big entryway / waiting area. A nice big leather sofa offered a place to sit in comfort. To the right was the bar. It was happy hour and the bar was fairly busy. I stopped in there on the way out to take a gander at the liquor selection, bourbon in particular. They had about 4 or 5, but nothing particularly interesting or top shelf-worthy. The bar area itself seemed fairly nice and they had a decent selection of everything else. As we walked up to the hosts desk we were greeted by the lone hostess and taken to a table immediately. The dining room was pretty quiet, just a few other tables were occupied. The space consisted mostly of booths. It was nicely lit, a touch brighter than I would have expected, which we both agreed was actually kind of nice. We were seated and the hostess handed us our menus and took two extra place settings with her as she left. Within a minute or so we met our server. He asked if we were celebrating anything, which we weren’t. I wondered if that was a normal question or if it had anything to do with the fact that we were the youngest customers there by about 20-30 years for the majority of the night. He asked if we would like to start off with sparkling water or tap. We went tap and he left momentarily to get that. When he returned he took our drink orders and listed off their beer selection from memory when Eric asked what pale ales they had. Eric went with a Mirror Pond Pale Ale and I a Deschutes Black Butte Porter. He took the wine glasses from our place settings as he left to get those going.
We started going over the menus for a few minutes before bread was delivered. Thin slices of…actually, I never did decide what kind of bread it was. It was topped with sesame seeds and the edges had a nice crunch to them. The pads of butter that come on a separate little plate were cold and difficult to spread as the bread was about room temperature. The bread was OK. Our beers followed the bread by a few minutes. At this point our server asked if we were ready to order. We had wanted to get the Teriyaki Tenderloin Skewers (pineapple teriyaki marinated filet mignon) [$10.95] for an appetizer. This is where we had our first issue, although we didn’t realize it yet. I’ll take this moment to point out that the PDF menu I snagged from their website right after getting home is seemingly out of date and some of the descriptions are a bit off from the menu we saw there in the restaurant. For instance, the price on this appetizer was a dollar more on the physical menu and it described it as coming with four skewers. He asked us if we wanted two, and we kind of looked at each other with slight confusion and asked how big the skewers were, and confirmed that four came with it. We said yeah, two sounds about right (thinking two skewers a person, as most rational people probably would) and carried on with the rest of our order. Eric got the 10oz Filet Mignon (our most tender steak cooked to perfection served with your choice of au gratin, mashed or baked Yukon potatoes) [$33.95] (online says $31.95). He ordered it rare and with the mashed potatoes. I considered ordering a steak to compare with the ribeye I had last weekend at Tahoe Joe’s, but something else was calling to me. The Pistachio Almond Crusted Sea Bass (topped with avocado butter, served on Moroccan couscous and melted leeks) [$23.95]. I had an otherworldly sea bass on a cruise many years ago and I’ve been chasing that experience ever since, with no luck so far. I order it anytime I see it. With that, our server was off.
Our appetizers (yes, plural) showed up about ten minutes later. We both realized immediately what had happened in that conversation earlier. Now we each had our own 4 skewers of teriyaki tenderloin. We found that annoying and would have much rather tried two different items had we intended to get more than one appetizer. As far as the skewers went though, they were pretty damn tasty. The filet mignon pieces were nice and tender and the teriyaki sauce rich and flavorful. These came with a ramekin of additional sauce. I am not certain if it was the exact same sauce that was already on the skewers, but it seemed to be a bit sweeter. Duplicate order aside, it was an excellent start. Sometime around here Eric flagged our server down as he passed by and asked for another Mirror Pond. We went on with our conversation for a while. When the new beer finally came out, delivered by another person, we realized it must have been at least 5 minutes or more since he had asked for it. It felt like a long time.
About 25 minutes after the appetizers had been served came our main entrees. Eric’s steak was served simply. It sat on the side of the plate next to a big pile of mashed potatoes and a side of sauce – for the potatoes apparently. The steaks come with a choice of peppercorn, Bordelaise, Bernaise, or mushroom sauce and also a choice of peppercorn, espresso and chili, brown sugar & sea salt, or garlic herb crust. Eric had chosen the peppercorn crust and no sauce for the filet mignon. He cut me a bite of the steak later on to try out and it was fantastic. It was perfectly cooked, extremely tender and super flavorful (not in the buttery way the ribeye I had at Tahoe Joe’s was, but flavorful on it’s own).
My sea bass was presented more intricately. It had the wonderful, golden crust on it and was served atop couscous, leeks and some type of green beans, all surrounded by a shallow pool of a cream sauce. A small dollop of avocado butter was on top of the bass, right in the center, and was topped further by what I believe were green onions, or some variety of them. My first bite of the sea bass was from the end and mostly consisted of the pistachio and almond crust. That was awesome, tasty and with a great fine but crunchy texture. My next bite was more fish, and it was not what I was hoping for. Instead of a melt-in-your-mouth, delicate consistency, it was rather dry and firm. Several more bites in it didn’t really improve a lot. I felt that it was very much overcooked. The couscous and cream sauce, which were both great, went a long way to help me get some enjoyment out of the dish. The avocado butter didn’t really come through at all. At one point I found a long sliver of bone, which is always a bad time. Altogether very disappointing, unfortunately.
We sat and hung out for a while after finishing dinner and finished up some more beer. No longer distracted by food, we started to examine the restaurant in some more detail. It was now that we began to notice some little things that we felt did not belong in a restaurant that was going for the more upscale experience. Many of the light fixtures had multiple bulbs out, and one of them even had a crooked lamp and another that was mismatched. As one of the employees refilled our water, he seemed unconfident in what he was doing, filling it most of the way, starting to set it down, then deciding to pour some more in. Little details like this, the slow beers and unpolished level of service started to add up.
Later, on a trip to the restroom, it was like walking into another world. Going from the hardwood floors to weird sea foam green tiles, it felt like you had stepped into a Target. There was a candle in a jar between the two sinks that was burnt around the top and had the Mainstays label on it (which is clearly designed to be removed, by the way). This is the same type of cheap candles I have found at Walmart. The illusion was breaking down. The PDF menu available on their website contains a disturbingly low-resution Suede Blue logo at the top which feels very sloppy in contrast with the fancy flash interface and music you’re greeted with when visiting the site. In the end I am left with the opinion that this place is run with the intention of being one of the nicer restaurants in Roseville, yet it’s like they don’t really know what that means. At the price I paid, a bone in my fish isn’t really acceptable, let alone it being overcooked. I can’t say I expect to return.
- Teriyaki Tenderloin Skewers
- Filet Mignon
- Pistachio Almond Crusted Sea Bass
- Black Butte Porter