River Dance

Old favorite remains consistently good

By Greg Sabin
October 2023

Scott’s Seafood on the River is a hidden gem for some, an old standby for others. Tucked away near Riverside Boulevard between Land Park and Pocket, Scott’s has delighted locals and travelers for 15 years.

Attached to the Westin hotel on the river, Scott’s hides in plain sight. Some readers may not think of heading to a hotel restaurant for a nice local meal. However, Scott’s Seafood on the River is independently owned by husband and wife Sigrid and Alan Irvine. They are independent from Westin and separate from other Scott’s in Folsom and the Bay Area.

The riverside location brings great views and Delta breezes to the dining room and patio. Earlier this year, it also brought the Army Corps of Engineers.

As part of levee fortifications, Corps contractors commandeered the restaurant parking lot and built a wall along the frontage. The river view was blocked. Some business owners would have flipped. Alan Irvine took it in stride.

He did two things I admire. One, he asked local muralist and fellow restaurant owner, Stephanie Taylor (Willie’s Burgers on Arden and Fair Oaks), to paint a river-themed mural along the temporary wall. Taylor’s bright fish, clever quotes and watery vibe turned a drab view into a cheeky vista.

Then Irvine wrote an op-ed in The Business Journal, describing his situation and emphasizing that if he needed to sacrifice some business for the betterment and safety of the community, that’s OK.

“The levee restoration has seriously disrupted a significant segment of our business,” Irvine wrote, “but we remain proud to be part of the project.” I admire the grace and community spirit of this approach.

The good news is that if all goes according to plan, the wall should be gone when you read this review. Parking may still be valet only, but those Delta breezes will whistle once again.

Despite the construction, Scott’s kitchen remains consistent. Many dishes have been available for years and still work. Clam chowder and crab bisque are two of the best in town. The chowder is light, creamy and well-seasoned. The bisque is punchy with pepper and bright with tomatoes, yet still supports the crab.

Ahi poke nachos have been on the menu since Scott’s had its Loehmann’s Plaza location in the mid-1990s. Still delightful. Poke is pungent with ponzu and tobiko. Wonton chips are crisp and fun. Regardless of age, these are crowd pleasers.

Petrale sole and cioppino are two standouts, classic preparations, San Francisco-style. Sole, lightly battered and topped with a lemon-caper sauce, arrives gorgeously flaky. Cioppino messes up clean shirts with fishy bits and spicy tomato broth. Scott’s extra-sour sourdough bread soaks everything up.

Service is chipper and casual. Friendliness comes through. On a night where three parties of 10 dominated the room, our server and the manager checked in and made sure things went smoothly for the rest of us.

It’s easy to overlook old favorites, especially when there’s a wall blocking the view. I’m glad I re-engaged with Scott’s, wall or not.

Scott’s Seafood on the River is at 4800 Riverside Blvd.; (916) 379-5959; scottsseafoodontheriver.com.

Greg Sabin can be reached at saceats@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.

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