North Sacramento's Enotria Restaurant Wine Bar, which completed a $1.5 million renovation in 2011, has now overhauled its kitchen staff to include some of the region's top culinary talent.
Pajo Bruich, formerly of midtown's Lounge ON20, has been hired as executive chef of the restaurant on Del Paso Boulevard. Other notable additions include Stan Moore, former sous chef of the Kitchen, and Edward Martinez, the former pastry chef of Hawks restaurant.
Enotria's new staff will make its debut on Saturday with a beer dinner hosted by Charlie Bamforth, Anheuser-Busch endowed professor of brewing science at UC Davis. After that, this new crew will start up again at Enotria on Sept. 14 and keep going from there.
While Bruich is best known for embracing molecular gastronomy and other modern cooking techniques, he's scaling back his style to emphasize seasonal, ingredient-driven dishes with classic techniques. Most dishes will be based on just four ingredients. Look for such items as dayboat scallops, risotto and dry aged rib-eye. Entrees cost between $19 and $30, and $50 for a four-course tasting menu.
"It's a total shift of focus for me," said Bruich, who apprenticed at San Francisco's Benu following his departure from Lounge ON20. "I did some soul searching of what I wanted to do next. Stylistically, it's a very accessible menu and a simple, ingredient- driven approach. It's about cooking flavorful food with amazing ingredients and a lot of passion."
Enotria features what is perhaps Sacramento's longest running wine bar, and a cellar with some 750 bottle options. Thirty-two wines will be poured by the glass, and each menu item comes with a suggested wine pairing.
Bruich was recruited for the executive chef position by Kathi Riley, a former chef at Chez Panisse in Berkeley who now works as a restaurant consultant. Along with its revamped staff, Enotria has hired Wagstaff Worldwide, a leading marketing and public relations firm that includes nationally recognized restaurants as San Francisco's Foreign Cinema and the Michelin two-starred Manresa of Los Gatos as clients.
Bruich and company are busy fine-tuning the menu and preparing for their debut. He said he feels invigorated by the energy coming through Enotria's kitchen thus far.
"There's a lot of excitement around this project," said Bruich. "Every one of them is extremely passionate, and the fact they're all coming together under one roof is amazing. They're all willing to make the sacrifices of leaving their previous positions. We all believe we're doing something really special."
Enotria Restaurant Wine Bar is located at 1431 Del Paso Blvd. For more information: (916) 922-6792 or www.enotria.com.