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A soft opening this weekend for friends and family is planned to give the staff at Blackbird Kitchen & Bar some hands-on experience and feedback before opening to the public on Wednesday.
“It’s been a lot of work, but everything is turning out really nice,” said Kevin O’Connor, chef de cuisine for the restaurant.
Housed in a pair of connected buildings at 1015 Ninth St. dating back to the early 20th century, much of the extensive work to the interior of the gourmet seafood restaurant involved carefully exposing and highlighting what was already present.
Fluted panels on the walls and an intricate ceiling are a couple of the details that were preserved from the original structures.
“It’s been kind of neat seeing the line between construction and art kind of blur,” O’Connor said.
(Image by: Brandon Darnell)
The prominent bar visible when walking into the restaurant is made from a dead redwood tree taken out of Tahoe Park. The tabletops are also from the tree, General Manager Dona Bridges
Image by: Brandon Darnell The restaurant currently employs about 22, with five of them being in the kitchen, she added.
Seating for about 60 is currently being provided, Bridges
said, with 30 seats in the upstairs dining room and 30 downstairs, mixed between table and bar seating.
(Image by: Brandon Darnell) Like many of the buildings in the area, the basement is the former street level, and it was raised in the 1800s, she said.
O’Connor said the old safe from when the space was a bank now houses wine racks, and he plans to hang charcuterie in it in the future.
Owner Carina Lampkin has been working with O’Connor, whose cooking experience includes work at The Kitchen and Ella Dining Room & Bar in addition to living in Southern France. The two of them have been focusing on the menu, but prices have not yet been set.
In general, O’Connor said, prices will range from $6 - $18.
O’Connor said the crudo – an Italian term meaning raw – entrees will be what sets Blackbird apart, but there are numerous other seafood plates and non-seafood meals available as well.
The crudo fish plates – Lampkin’s forté – are garnished with a medley of flavors, he said, adding that they are different from sushi.
One of the raw dishes is kampachi with Cara Cara orange, lemon grass vin, cilantro, mint, micro cilantro, chili threads and Maldon.
Another is arctic char with beets, shaved fennel, arugula and black pepper.
Cooked fare will include beer-popped mussels, smoked clam chowder, seared dayboat scallops, an assortment of pastas and a burger option.
A full liquor selection is available, and O’Connor said the restaurant will offer happy hour specials, probably starting around 3:30 p.m. and going until 6 or 7 p.m.
“We want to have a feel like a neighborhood place where people can come in for a drink and a meal,” he said.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.
Editorial Note: Corrections were made to this article after it was published. The incorrect information was struck out and the correct informatoin added.