Enotria Restaurant Wine Bar, which completed a $1.5 million renovation in 2011, has now undergone its most significant change in kitchen staff. Pajo Bruich, formerly of midtown's Lounge ON20, is now serving as Enotria's excutive chef. He's also helped recruit some of Sacramento's top culinary talent to help run Enotria's kitchen. Among Enotria's new staff: Stan Moore, former sous chef of The Kitchen, and Edward Martinez, the former pastry chef of Hawk's Restaurant who was profiled by the Bee in April. Other new staff come from such notable Sacramento establishments as Blackbird Kitchen + Bar and The Selland Group.
Enotria's new staff will make its debut on Saturday with a beer dinner hosted by Dr. 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 perhaps Sacramento's longest running wine bar, and a cellar with some 750 bottle options. 32 wines will be poured by the glass, and each menu item comes with a suggested wine pairing.
Bruich was recruited for this executive chef position by Kathi Riley, a former chef at Chez Panisse who now works as a restaurant consultant. Along with its revamped staff, Enotria has also hired Wagstaff Worldwide, a leading marketing and public relations firm that includes nationally recognized restaurants as San Francisco's Foreign Cinema and the two Michelin starred Manresa of Los Gatos as clients.
Meanwhile, Bruich and company are busy fine tuning the menu and preparing for their debut. 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.