My mother and I hadn’t eaten at Hotel Sutter since we celebrated my birthday there a few years ago. So, we decided to return and take advantage of their curbside pickup service. The Hotel Sutter website has a link to order online, and I was able to do that from the Martell Starbucks while my mother and I were running errands. I set the time for pickup at 12:45 p.m. on the ordering site, and despite a few small hiccups, I was able to finish my order in a few minutes.

When we got to Hotel Sutter on Main Street, we turned left onto Spanish Street, which is the street that borders the north side of the hotel, we didn’t see the pickup location marked anywhere. After we drove around the hotel for a couple of minutes, I parked in an area of the rear parking lot that wasn’t taken up by outdoor seating, and I gave Hotel Sutter a call. The woman who took my call was a bit surprised when I asked where the curbside pickup was, and she asked us to park at the restaurant’s side door.

When we drove down Spanish Street again, we saw the sandwich board for curbside pickup was folded and leaning against the side of the building. The side door was also painted the same dark brown color as the rest of the building, so it was a bit hard to see. We parked close to the door and a man came out within 30 seconds to greet us and tell us our meal was almost ready. In about a minute, a woman (perhaps the one I talked to on the phone) happily gave us our food in a large paper bag with twine handles.

After we arrived home, we found my meal in a Styrofoam container and my mother’s meal in a plastic container. I ordered a Sutter Burger with onion rings, and my mother ordered a Crab & Prawn Louie salad.

My Meal

My burger was straightforward: a beef patty with cheddar cheese, lettuce, two large sliced tomatoes, several outer rings of sliced red onion, and Sutter Spread (mayonnaise and mustard) on what looked to be a whole grain bun. The burger came with a few onion rings and a spear of a mild dill pickle.

I tasted the burger itself with my first smell and my first taste, and the beef patty was seasoned and cooked medium-well as I ordered. The patty was flat throughout, so I’m not sure if Hotel Sutter forms its beef in molds or if they purchase their patties pre-formed from a meat market and keeps them frozen until it’s time to cook and season them.

Hotel Sutter's Sutter burger

The produce on the burger was fresh and provided some flavor, which was sometimes overwhelmed by large amounts of mayonnaise and mustard that occasionally popped out of the bun as I ate. I couldn’t taste the cheddar cheese, but I could plainly see it was cooked on top of the patty. The buns were about the same height as the patty and were solid from the first bite to the last, but they only provided texture.

The pickle was crunchy and didn’t overwhelm my palate with dill. A strong dill pickle can hide the taste of anything else, especially a hamburger that comes with said pickle. I was glad to see that Hotel Sutter understood this especially because some large burger places like Red Robin don’t.

The onion rings were crisp and slightly sweet, and the onions inside were cooked properly. A small lidded cup included a generous helping of ketchup, but there were only five onion rings, so I kept a lot of the ketchup for a future meal.

Mom’s Meal

My mother’s large salad was packed with produce and seafood. A generous helping of crab and several large pieces of shrimp sat on top of romaine and arugula lettuce. Also atop the lettuce were sliced cucumbers, a variety of small tomatoes, sliced avocado, a sliced hard-boiled egg, and a wedge of lemon. The Hotel Sutter staff even managed to squeeze in a lidded cup of thousand island dressing.

The salad was so large that even though she only put half the salad on her dinner plate, it filled the entire plate. As my mother started eating, her first comment was about how fresh everything was. Her second comment was about the tomatoes and how she was pleased to see pear tomatoes in her salad, which she hasn’t seen in very many restaurant salads. The pear tomatoes accompanied orange tomatoes, which we have never seen in a salad, and cherry tomatoes.

My mother said the shrimp was very good, and she said she trusted that Hotel Sutter had cooked the shrimp thoroughly. The flaky crab met with her approval, though she couldn’t tell if the crab was fresh or if it had come from a can. The thousand island dressing itself was sweet but not overpowering and complimented the other ingredients well.

Hotel Sutter Crab & Prawn Louie salad

The Verdict

The Sutter Burger is one of the top five burgers I’ve had in the county so far. I appreciated the aroma of the burger coming through in my first smell and my first taste. Overall, the burger was above average, as you would expect from a higher-end restaurant, but nothing stood out enough to make the burger superior. The onion rings themselves were also above average but not superior; Mel and Faye’s is still the place to go for sweet onion rings.

My mother ate the rest of the salad the next day and said that because her plastic containers for the salad and dressing were well sealed, the rest of the salad was just as fresh the next day when my mother enjoyed it for lunch. Though she hasn’t eaten too many restaurant salads, she said that the Crab & Prawn Louie is the best salad she’s had so far.

Green light from both of us.

The price for our meals, including a tip, was a little over $34.

Want to Try Them?

Hotel Sutter is open Sundays, Mondays, and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and on Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. They are closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

You can view the Hotel Sutter menu and order online from their website. You can pick up your dinner curbside or in the lobby. You can also eat outside either on the sidewalk along Main Street, the patio behind the restaurant, or on the second-floor balcony. In-person dining reservations are required, and you can reserve online or call Hotel Sutter for reservations and/or ask any questions at 209-267-0242.

Amador Business Ticker food reviews are adventures in local dining with Editor Eric Butow and his mom.