If you live in the Sacramento area, you simply MUST go to Gatsby's Diner for dinner. Go. Go now.
Yes, it was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, but that's not the reason to go. The Fire Burger is the reason to go:
An 8 ounce burger with avocado, roasted jalapenos, cheddar cheese, bacon, roasted onions, tomato and lettuce. Don't even plan to eat it all because you won't. Even our server (who's the Chef's mother) will bring you out a knife, inform you to cut the burger in half and "lay it meat side down." If you need reheating instructions, she'll be happy to let you know what to do (but I honestly don't mind eating my leftovers cold).
Here's my review posted on Yelp on 04/30/2010 - and nothing has changed, except they're a lot busier and now accepting reservations:
Gatsby's caught our eye because of the theme and the burgers. We went there quite a few times last summer (2009). The first couple of times we went, we really enjoyed the burgers, but honestly felt a bit awkward because we were the only ones there. They took the place over from a Japanese restaurant so there are two grills in the middle of the restaurant where they cook your burgers (or other food cooked on a griddle). Although friendly, the cook who made our food the first few times we went there didn't seem too enthusiastic about interacting with us.
Let's flash-forward to 2010. Craving a burger, we decided to go tonight. The head chef (and I will assume owner) was cooking and invited us to pick a table. We sat down close to the grill where he was cooking. The waitress was quick to our table and had a very sweet personality. My husband ordered the meatloaf and I had the Sliders. Having been here before, I knew the chips were divine, so I opted for those with my dinner and asked for a side of them as well because I knew the hubby would eat them, too. His meatloaf came with a side salad. His requested dressing was Italian, but the waitress politely explained they didn't have Italian and offered some other choices...we went with the balsamic vinagrette. (AMAZING)
Everything here HAS to be made from scratch...it shows...and it is so good!
Here is what I might be most impressed with. Our waitress asked how I wanted my Sliders cooked. I responded, "Medium rare." And that's exactly what I got...
But wait - here's what I'm SUPER impressed with. I can ask the head chef about how he cooks the food, and with no pretention, he tells me. Tonight I asked him what oil he fries the potato chips in, and not only did he tell me, he told me the specific potato he uses because of the sugar factor.
Gatsby's seems to be definitely a family-run restaurant and it shows. I think the head chef/owner is fantastic and he perfected just a few things he's really good at (burgers, potato chips, french fries). When he has his specials, such as an Heirloom Tomato Salad...well, just make sure you order them.
And as always - if you can help me afford MasterChef classes at Le Cordon Bleu, click here! I will love you forever (and will share skills learned right here...maybe even cook you a dinner in return!)