The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Public Fish & Oyster

Introducing Pronto: Fresh pasta, fast, on the UVa Corner

pronto

You know how a group of enthusiasts can geek out about a fancy piece of equipment? Like cyclists marveling at a bike frame, or car mechanics going nuts over an engine. For some chefs, the toy that really excites them these days is the Arcobaleno AEX18, the so-called Rolls Royce of pasta extruders.

What’s a pasta extruder? Touch a button, and a pasta extruder turns flour and water into fresh pasta, extruding it through metal dies into any of a variety of shapes. Its virtues are many. The quality of the pasta, consistency, and ease of experimentation, just to name a few. But, perhaps the biggest thing that extruders like Arcobaleno’s give chefs is the same thing we all want: time.

For many restaurants, the great obstacle in making fresh pasta is the time it requires. “Agonizingly slow and cumbersome,” one chef described the process. Indeed, the many culinary tasks that a restaurant menu requires often do not leave time to prepare pasta by hand. Even if a restaurant can afford to make fresh pasta for one or two dishes, a whole menu of handmade pasta can be next to impossible.

Enter Arcobaleno, a Pennsylvania-based company founded by a mechanical engineer who, in the late 1980s, left his native Italy for Canada, to build pasta factories. Initially, his company built industrial machines for pasta manufacturers. But, its breakthrough, as far as chefs are concerned, came when it took the same technology behind the industrial machines and created smaller units that fit easily on a countertop. Now, for $5,000 and up, a chef can have a unit that, in an hour, can create twenty pounds of world class, fresh pasta.

Chefs swooned. A fresh pasta revolution was born.

Fresh Pasta, Pronto

Here in Charlottesville, a trio of restaurant industry veterans aims to leverage the virtues of an Arcobaleno machine into a fast-casual, pasta restaurant. Public Fish & Oyster owner Daniel Kaufman and chef Gregg Dionne have teamed with former Parallel 38 chef Johnny Garver to launch Pronto, which opens today on The Corner. Fresh pasta for the masses.

“Fresh pasta is far superior to dried,” says Kaufman. “We want to offer that experience to our guests, using quality, fresh ingredients, and do so fast with great value.”

machine

Pronto’s Arcobaleno extruder

One of the virtues of the fresh pastas that Arcobaleno’s machines create is that they are a pleasure to eat even with very little sauce. The pasta has a soft, springy texture, and actually tastes of wheat, particularly when you use high-quality semolina flour, like Pronto does.

pasta

But, this does not mean Pronto is taking any short-cuts with its sauces. Together, chefs Garver and Dionne have created a menu of sauces that, as in Italy, showcase the quality of their ingredients. Cacio e pepe. Bolognese. Fra Diavolo. Pesto. And more.

Choose your fresh pasta shape. Choose a sauce. Add toppings if you must. And, you’re good to go.

We sampled a few, and all were excellent. Here’s Kaufman’s favorite, spaghetti with cacio e pepe.

Cacio

And, fusilli with pesto.

pesto

Pronto opens today, January 21, in the former Revolutionary Soup location on the UVa Corner. 104 14th St. NW Suite 4. Follow along on their Facebook page.

Five Finds on Friday: Mita Tembe

mita

Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Mita Tembe, Bakery Manager of MarieBette Cafe and Bakery. At MarieBette, Tembe’s favorites are the sticky bun, the chocolate chunk cookie, and the Monroe tartine, with scrambled eggs, caramelized onions, bacon, and herbs atop MarieBette sourdough. Tembe’s other favorites around town:

1) Spanish Olive Oil and Rosemary Cake at Orzo. “My friend and I meant to share but we got two instead. Best accident ever.”

2) Santa Fe Enchiladas and a House Margarita .at Continental Divide. “I love the pumpkin muffin on the side, and you can never go wrong with a CD margarita.”

3) Belgian fries and aioli at Public Fish & Oyster. “Hands down the best fries in Charlottesville: hot, salty, crispy. Also, the fried brussels sprouts, with that same aioli, are incredible.”

4) Torta Brava at La Michoacana. “Super super spicy and absolutely delicious.”

5) Grilled Banana Bread at Bizou. “I have attempted to recreate this at home to no avail. Bizou does it best.”

banana

 

 

 

Public Fish & Oyster Auction: Lobster Bake of Your Dreams

Public

Here is your chance to experience Public Fish & Oyster like you never have before, while helping to feed the area’s hungry: The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions. Along with all of the other restaurants in The Charlottesville 29, Public has created a once-in-a-lifetime experience for whoever pledges the highest donation to The Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. Thanks to the generosity of Public, the entire winning bid goes directly to the food bank. And, thanks to the efficiency of the food bank, each dollar donated creates four meals for the area’s hungry.

The Public signature experience for The Charlottesville 29 Restaurant Auctions: 

Lobster Bake of Your Dreams

The winner and nine guests will be treated to the ultimate shellfish smorgasbord at Public Fish & Oyster. Crab legs, shrimp, oysters, clams, and more, including a few surprises from Executive Chef Gregg Dionne. Then, to top it all off, lobsters. To wash down all of the food, Public owner Daniel Kaufman, a longtime sommelier, will serve some of his favorite and most special wine pairings with each course. Plenty of beer and cocktails will also be available.

Note: The auction winner will schedule the event at a mutually convenient time with Public.

Bidding

Bidding has ended for the Public Fish & Oyster experience. Winning bid: $3,000.

 

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