Appetizers: Enotria's sous chef promoted to top job
The staff turnover continues at Enotria Restaurant and Wine Bar, which re-opened in February after a $1.5 million remodel. Executive chef Anthony Brenes recently departed from Enotria, and sous chef John Komotos has been promoted to executive chef.
This personnel change follows former wine director Chad Seaburg leaving for a gig in the medical industry, and being replaced by 26-year-old sommelier Jeremiah Morehouse.
Komotos says Brenes left to help raise a new family and take work outside the restaurant industry.
Komotos, 30, is a native of St. Louis and moved to Sacramento in November. He previously worked at a raw-foods restaurant in Los Angeles and played music on the side. He's also had stints in Vail, Colo., and got his start at Cardwell's in Clayton in St. Louis.
As Enotria's executive chef, Komotos is collaborating more closely with Morehouse the sommelier for more thoughtful food-and- wine pairings. While Brenes created a flavorful menu with Latin American accents, many dishes were simply too busy and spiced up to work well with Enotria's wide- ranging wine program.
Komotos plans to take some dishes in a slightly simpler direction, while maintaining quality and freshness. Look for a greater emphasis on local ingredients, artisanal California cheeses, seafood and southeast Asian touches.
"Working with Jeremiah is really cool because we taste the wines and feed off each other," said Komotos. "This is my first experience working in a wine restaurant, and it's been really rewarding and working well. I am trying to simplify and cut back (on the number of ingredients). Nothing will be too out of control and there won't be any heavy sauces, so you can taste the wine just fine."
Enotria is at 1431 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento. Information: (916) 922-6792; www.enotria.com.
Site swap just ahead
The time is now about to come for two east Sacramento eateries, Gönül's J St. Cafe and Formoli's Bistro, to swap locations.
Gönül's is changing its name to Vanilla Bean Bistro and opening June 6 at 3260 J St. Note that Gönül's will close its current location at 3839 J St. next Sunday to make way for the move.
Gönül Blum says she's changing the name of her restaurant since so many people have a hard time pronouncing her first name. Her new space will be about 1,200 square feet smaller than the former location, and she plans to run some cooking classes once Vanilla Bean Bistro is up and running.
"We're going to do almost the same menu," said Blum. "We'll use mostly organic ingredients and grow things in the summertime in our garden."
For more information: (916) 457-1155; www.vanillabeanbistro.com.
Food donations accepted
The weekly Wednesday farmers market at Cesar Chavez Plaza now features a booth where shoppers can donate fresh produce to the River City Food Bank.
Senior Gleaners worked with the River City Food Bank to launch the program earlier this month. The idea: shoppers buy a little extra at the weekly downtown market and donate it at the "Giving Fresh" table.
Cesar Chavez Plaza is across from City Hall at the corner of 10th and J streets.
The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays through October.