Sneak Peek (Er… Read): Pangaea’s New Kitchen

Pangaea Bier Cafe in Curtis Park has been pouring local and imported beer with a focus on Belgium since 2008. Pangaea sports a knowledgable staff and beer list that remains unparalleled. It’s one of my very favorite places in town. This place has existed before and will exist after Sacramento’s obsession with craft beer.

I was sent to shoot a gallery of images featuring the newly installed kitchen and some of the plates coming out of it. This is one of the few instances where I think such a gallery wouldn’t be able to provide the whole picture of this addition to Curtis Park. Owner Rob Archie is surely wise to enlist the talents of Chef Rob Venditti.  Don’t know of him? You should. If you’ve eaten the best that Sacramento has to offer in the past few years you’ve likely eaten his food.

Few Sacramento chefs are as seasoned as the 39 year old Venditti. He started at the age of 14 at Gordy’s Taqueria on Watt Ave and Whitney moving to Rio City Cafe in its heyday working under Brian Bird who recognized Rob’s talent and quickly moved him from dishwasher to the line. Venditti then moved to a part-time stint at Cafe Bernado while touring with Sacramento band Filibuster. After the band’s implosion he was back with Chef Bird opening Grapes, a winecentric eatery in downtown. Ultimately he landed at Mulvaney’s in 2006 working in what is arguably one of Sacramento’s most intense kitchens.

This pedigree means that as long as he is in Pangaea’s kitchen, it will have a deep game. When I caught up with Venditti he was prepping for Pangaea’s Rare Beer Dinner where four courses will be paired with hard-to-find beers like Pliny the Younger. His menus are by no means experimental but instead rooted in classics like steaks, stews, pasta and burgers. A lot of the ingenuity in the food is not written on the menu. For instance, the burger (pictured below) is formed of a ground beef mix made specifically for Venditti. I would venture to guess his Bacon Cheeseburger to be in Blackwell’s top 3 (in town) by the end of the month.

With the new chef and kitchen I can imagine an upswing in people saying, “Let’s go to Pangea for dinner and a maybe get a beer.”

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Ryan Donahue
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