September 22, 2011
Lounge ON20 ranks No. 6 in country for molecular gastronomy

CREDIT: Chef Pajo Bruich prepares creme fraiche with the anti-griddle at Lounge ON20. Andy Alfaro, Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento dining scene could use a little pick-me-up after a goofy Living Social ranked Sacramento second to last in a national dining survey. So here's some good news that speaks to the talent and fine food that can be found in this town: Midtown's Lounge ON20 just ranked No. 6 in a rating of the country's best restaurants for molecular gastronomy. Lounge ON20 (20th and K streets, Sacramento) ranked just behind the venerable French Laundry in this Top 10 list from Gayot, a restaurant guide that was launched in 1981. Alinea of Chicago, considered the nucleus of molecular gastronomy in the United States, earned the No. 1 spot.

To rewind, molecular gastronomy uses a bit of science and cutting edge cooking techniques to reimagine the texture and flavors of food. At Lounge ON20, you'll find that ethos applied to its tacos, which include a foam made of Tapatio hot sauce and a fantastic lime cured hamachi with compressed watermelon and "pears" of sweet Fresno chile.

Bruich, who The Bee profiled in March, had no idea that Lounge ON20 was in the running.

"I am shocked and humbled," said Bruich. "To even be on the Top 100 of those guys, I'd take that any day of the week. But to be in that kind of position (at No. 6), I'm speechless. My philosophy is that whether it's cracking an oyster, or making a gel or foam, whatever the techniques we use we just want to put the best food possible in front of the diner."

Bruich is equally proud that the rankings show Sacramento restaurants can compare among the nation's best.

"To get positive national recognition is great," said Bruich. "This is a serious food scene, from Chef Kelly McCown (of Ella Dining Room & Bar) to Patrick Mulvaney and a lot of guys out there who are pushing boundaries and doing amazing food. We should be really proud."

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