Flanked between pedestrian Pete's Restaurant and dowdy Dickey's Barbecue Pit, Tank House has thrived as one of midtown Sacramento's most popular eateries. Across the street is Old Spaghetti Factory, which, as the title depicts, looks old and serves spaghetti and gives off depressing vibes akin to those from a sweatshop factory staffed by sleep-deprived workers. Not sure if easy competition was what Tank House's owners had in mind when they chose the location. But within these few blocks on J Street, it definitely stands out like a peacock in a chicken coop.
A BBQ smoker large enough to fit a bear (well, maybe an almost full-grown cub) is exhibited on the patio, seducing passersby with the aroma of smoked meat from late morning till dead of night. In a sense, that is a cruel offense to those on a diet. Imagine this: you're just doing your daily power walk, minding your own business, and all of a sudden, you inhale this scrumptious smell, which then hyper-stimulates your salivary glands and awakens your hibernating inner glutton. You are helpless, utterly helpless. Even if you don't care for BBQ, you're still plagued by a need to devour something. A truck load of something. Immediately.
As if the smoky fragrance isn't enticing enough, the restaurant's grand and crystal-clear windows blatantly beg us to peek inside. It's always laid-back yet festive. The bartenders are quite busy, the drinkers quite merry. People like to come in groups and get combination platters to share. And once in a while, you'll see some dude with more ribs on his plate than a mere human (no matter what size) can eat in two days. Well, I'm not that dude but can totally understand why one might wish to possess such a superhuman eating ability when dining here.
It's not quite like the barbecue you get in Texas or North Carolina. This place isn't much about the good old southern-BBQ tradition. Their house-made sauces (one labeled "sweet" and the other "tangy") both offer a gratifying taste of rebellion. A bit strange but not wacky. There's nothing exciting about the menu or meat options, though. Very typical BBQ stuff. No quails, rabbit sausage or rattlesnake burger patties. But the succulent brisket and baby back ribs are sure to guarantee happy taste buds.