Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Lost Scallops of Pangaea


Named after a long lost supercontinent, Pangaea Bier Cafe does evoke an appealing mystique. Its charming title and modern-rustic decor are likely not what draw its clientele, though. Most people go there for beers--from something local to wildly exotic, no-nonsense lagers to gimmicky stouts, you can find them all here. Judging from the monumental size of its beer menu, it's quite possible this trendy gastropub carries the largest variety of beers of any bar in Sacramento. What about the food? Well, I ate there only once and it kind of left me scratching my head. 

The mac and cheese, although loaded with bacon goodness, wasn't any more interesting than what a good home cook could whip up. The Pangaea burger stood as the lone winner of the meal. Juicy, well-seasoned, beautifully seared--it deserved a little salute. And then there was that scallop dish. Presentation-wise, it fulfilled what one would expect gastropub food to look like. The artistic spread of grits, the dainty arrangement of verdolagas, the gorgeous golden sear on the scallops and pork belly confit--oh the plate was lovely. Then I ate it, and all my joy met its demise. Keep in mind that I am from Thailand where bold in-your-face flavors are a national frenzy; I cook with fish sauce quite excessively; and I worship salt. Those scallops and pork belly confit, however, epitomized the wrath of the Salt God. It didn't taste too overwhelming after the first few bites, but the saltiness kept building up and building up, and when it reached its crescendo, my tongue was crying for a purifying bath. It was as though they had three different chefs in the kitchen--a nice granny prepared the mac and cheese; Bobby Flay cooked the burger; and a salt sadist was responsible for that gastronomic nightmare. Will I give this restaurant another try? Dunno. Possibly. One thing I hope, though, is that their scallop dish would cease to exist just like the supercontinent of Pangaea. 

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