Tag Archives: where to eat in Sacramento

Sacramento’s Grange To Get a Facelift

 

The top-selling zabuton at Grange.

The top-selling zabuton at Grange.

When Sacramento’s Grange reopens tomorrow, it will have a refreshed look.

I’m curious to see how this farm-to-fork downtown restaurant will re-imagine itself, as I had the chance to check it out a month before the redo, when I was invited in as a guest of Grange and the swank Citizen Hotel.

Downtown Sacramento is undergoing its own renaissance, what with the opening of Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings, just a stroll away.

With Chef Oliver Ridgeway’s farm-to-table sensibilities and an industrial, masculine setting of concrete columns, soaring windows all around, and black steel pendant lights, the restaurant has long been a popular venue. The bar area in particular gets packed early in the evening whenever there is an event going on at the arena.

Grange's former look.

Grange’s former look.

I started with a Blueberry Shrub ($13), a refreshing sip of gin, lemon, thyme, and Luxardo sour cherry syrup, made extra puckery with Buckeye Creek blueberry rice vinegar. It’s a great way — and a pretty one — to rev the palate up.

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A Culinary Tour de Force in Sacramento

Pork belly, as prepared by the staff of Sacramento's Enotria restaurant.

Pork belly, as prepared by the staff of Sacramento’s Enotria restaurant.

 

Sacramento is many things.

An often testy political hotbed. A rich agricultural center. A place of torrid summers.

But a powerhouse of destination-dining?

Not so much.

Enter Pajo Bruich, executive chef of Enotria Restaurant and Wine Bar in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood, who aims to change that.

A native of Sacramento, Bruich came on board at the 15-year-old restaurant a year ago, following a major remodel. He’s serious about making it a must-stop for discriminating diners, having brought on board Sous Chef Stan Moore, formerly of The Kitchen in Sacramento; Pastry Chef Edward Martinez, formerly of Hawks in Granite Bay; and General Manager Jenny Yun, formerly of Per Se in New York and the Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena.

A five-course tasting dinner is $75 while a seven-course one is $105. A la carte options also are available.

Executive Chef Pajo Bruich readying the first course.

Executive Chef Pajo Bruich readying the first course.

Perhaps, it’s no surprise that Bruich, a former caterer and executive chef of Lounge ON20 in Sacramento, became a chef. After all, his grandfather owned a kitchen equipment company, as well as a fast-casual burger joint in Sacramento.

Still, he knows he has an uphill climb to lure people to make a special trip from the Bay Area to his restaurant in Sacramento. To generate more fanfare, he has invited some of San Francisco’s stellar chefs to cook at Enotria this summer, including Matthew Accarrino of SPQR and Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn. On Sept. 21, Chef Mark Pensa of Acquerello will join him in the kitchen.

The table is set at the Stable Cafe, the original location of Saison restaurant.

The table is set at the Stable Cafe, the original location of Saison restaurant.

To spread the word even more, last week he held a media dinner in San Francisco at the Stable Cafe. I was a guest at the intimate dinner, where Bruich’s staff outnumbered the diners 12 to 8. That included bringing all their own plateware and stemware, too. After all, if you can’t lure the SF press to Sacramento easily, the next best thing is to bring the restaurant to them.

The food served that night would easily give many top restaurants in San Francisco a run for their money. The fact that it came from a chef who is courageous — or foolhardy — enough to do it in Sacramento instead made it all the more extraordinary.

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