More news arrives this week from Enotria, which kicks off its new "guest chef" series on Wednesday. The first installment of this year-long series features Mark Liberman, a former Sacramentan who's since rocked the restaurant scene in San Francisco. AQ, in which Liberman serves as co-owner and chef, was a semi-finalist in the 2012 James Beard Awards for "best new restaurant." Enotria's Pajo Bruich will team with Liberman to prepare a seven-course dinner that runs $85 per person.
As the series moves along, look for cameos from a range of Michelin-starred chefs from the Bay Area including Dominique Crenn of Atelier Crenn and Aaron London, formerly of Ubuntu. Reservations are going quick, so better get moving if you want to score a table for what's bound to be an impeccable dinner: (916) 922-6792.
Meanwhile, Russell Eastman has been hired to develop Enotria's cocktail program for the next six months. Locals may remember Eastman from his days at the now-defunct Lounge ON20, and back then he created an "abisnthe fizz" which quickly became one of my all-time favorite Sacramento cocktails. (That's Eastman pictured above in his Lounge ON20 days). Now, he's a bartender at Bourbon & Branch, one of San Francisco's hot spots for craft cocktails, but will commute to Sacramento and bartend at Enotria on Tuesdays and Saturdays. He'll also be in the house for Wednesday's dinner with Liberman.
With Eastman developing Enotria's bar program, look for a wider selection of small-batch and artisanal spirits in lieu of the big brands. He'll be taking advantage of Enotria's kitchen to develop syrups, foams, gastriques and more for a variety of libations. A mock-up of Eastman's menu include's eight house cocktails and four classics.
"I want to go more the 'foodie' route with the cocktails," said Eastman. "I want to venture out of that same old package that people are being safe with, and start playing with liquid nitrogen and other cool stuff that Pajo does in the kitchen. Cocktail culture is really catching on and I want to match the program that Enotria does with food and wine. I like to push the envelope."
FROM THE BEE: