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Sep 11, 2007 07:37 PM

Pangea Opened Monday (Fresno)

Has anyone been yet? Of course, it has only been two days....

Usually I give a restaurant a couple months before BF and I check it out but I think we are going to attempt it this Thursday (wish us luck, I think we may just sit at the bar if it's crazy). I have talked to a couple people and they say the interior is spectacular. Food? On Friday they had a "Friends and Family " trial run and my boss attended that. He said the food was good, but it wasn't all what was served on the menu. Hmmmm....

Hopefully I will have details soon!!

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  1. Hey All Chowhounds and CocktailQueen...I actually ate there on Monday. I know it was there first night of "officially" being open but I decided I would try it anyways and just to give them a "fair shake" I would go again in a few months. So here is the scoop, from a self proclaimed "Fresno Foodie"....

    The interior is indeed spectacular. The entrance is cased with a beautiful glass wine room--that is obviously the focal point of the dining room The interior walls are shades of warm brown and copper tones. I was actually surprised, as I was expecting something a little more "Campagnia-ish". Not the case... At one point during dinner, I headed to the bathroom and noticed a long hallway that connects to the Terra Room. The hostess told me later that this is their new banquet facility. It was NICE! Copper ceilings, beautiful lighting, etc, etc. No expense was spared on that room. The question becomes with the high overhead and the obvious money invested, will that type of investment pay off ?? I guess that depends on the ambiance can only get you so far (Think Lantana, foodies!) So let me get to the REAL interesting stuff: THE FOOD.

    Surprisingly, for the first night, the food was good. They have a Crudo bar--so I immediately tried the sushi. It was some of the best I have had in Fresno. They offered traditional sushi and "global" sushi. IMHO, I thought the traditional sushi was better than the "global" Crunchy Mexican spicy tuna roll we tried but I must say both were good.

    There were 3 of us in my party and two of us ordered 3 items and one of us order just 2 items--which gave us a total of 8 items. After the sushi, we tried the roasted chicken breast--it came with a creamy gorgonzola mashed potato and a caper-vermouth reduction sauce. It was very good. The Vietnamese spicy beef salad was good (a little spicy for my taste) but my only complaint was that this dish is hard to share--which was a little odd because Pangea's whole concept (as described on their menu) is about the sharing of food. We also tried the Korean style short ribs. They were DELISH but I left wishing they would have served me a side of rice with it. We also tried the seared sea scallops--cooked perfectly... Here are some things we didn't order that we saw pass through the dining room: Mini trio burgers (they looked yummy) and the Salmon. Guess I will have to go back to try those (I'll give them a month, as I promised I would)

    The service was attentive but you could tell the server was a bit nervous--I'll chalk it up to first night jitters. For a Monday night, they had a decent bar crowd and I counted about 20 or so tables dining out on the patio. (The patio by the way, is now the nicest in FGV--they outdid themselves).

    Here's an interesting tidbit. I recognized the chef from The Chef's Table there--he was eating sushi and checking out the place!

    All in all, I think there is some room for improvement (it was their first night afterall) but I was impressed with the menu, ambiance, overall taste of the food for an opening night.

    7 Replies
    1. re: spicegirls

      Wife and I had dinner at Pangea last night and we both give it the two thumbs up all around on the service, food and decor. The outdoor lounge area is a very nice place to relax and enjoy the evening and the food is spectacular. Wife ordered the scallops with creme fraiche mash potatoes and shiitake pan sauce that really shined. We also had the pork and prawn dumplings and the salmon with edamame puree. Both dishes were excellent as all the flavors came through and complimented each other nicely. The kitchen really flourished on the seafood as we each kept commenting on how great everything tasted.
      The post above mentioned that Malachi Harland had been there the previous night, well last night Roy Harland was in the house as well. Seems like everyone is checking it out right now and Pangea is delivering the goods on all levels. We will be returning soon for nibbles and bites at the bar to taste more from the menu, so I'll post my next experience there....................

      1. re: mixnblend

        So...BF and I did end up at Pangea's Thursday night. Ultimately, we were not dissapointed at all and very happy to have a new venture nearby!!

        When we first walked in around there was a few couples waiting for tables (and this was around 8:15pm!!). One of the couples was our favorite server at Patio Cafe, him and his wife and child were there to check it out, as is most of Fresno I presume! The initial dissapointment was that with the flock of hostesses they had none of them greeted us. Not a "hello" or eye contact. We were halfway to the bar before one of them passed us by and casually asked if we needed a table (we declined, decided that the bar was the way to go that night).

        I absolutly love the patio bar area!! The backside of the bar - the wall that you see when you first walk into the restaurant - opens up into a casual lounge type patio. There are about nine bar stools (which are very comfy), three longer high tables that seat six, and two adorable couch seating areas with lower tables. We grabbed a seat at the bar, which was no easy task I might add, the place was packed!! There were four bartenders and they all looked busy. We recognized one of the bartenders that served us regurlarly at Yosemite Ranch, he greeted us (and also remembered us as well!!) and started our evening from there.

        While pursuing the menu it was hard to decide because it all looked good. My BF gave the difficult decision to me, so I decided to order the tamales and the shortribs (from the post above they sounded wonderful). We loved both!! You get two tamales, braised pork (delicious) wrapped in rice instead of the traditional masa plus a little feta and tomato salad accompanied them. The Korean shortribs had wonderful spicy flavors, and were cooked perfectly (medium rare), nice and juicy. They were served over a spicy cabbage slaw. I agree with spicegirls though, it did seem to need rice or something to absorb the spiciness. After that we were still hungry, so we decided to try the trio of burgers. We saw many plates across the bar and figured, why not? The burgers are made with ground ribeye and came meduim rare, which we love but I know some people prefer ground meat a tad more well done. One had carmalized onions, another bacon, and the third cheddar cheese (not sure if it was a specific type of specialty cheese) and they were served with sides of tomatoes, red onions, lettuce, ketchup and mustard. The quality of the beef was excellent. My only wish was that the toppings of the burgers were a little more inventive. Don't get me wrong, we ate every last bite, but I was hoping for a bit more creativity over traditional.

        Lastly, we ended with a strawberry cheesecake. WOW!! I had to fight my BF to even get a bite in. It was exceptionally creamy and delicious in every aspect.

        It does seems like everyone is checking out this new Fig Garden enterprise, especially restauranteurs. I recognized Chris Shackelford (owner of Trelio's) dining with Chef Vache (sp?) of Cracked Pepper Bistro. The owner of Palomino's, Paul, was also there with a couple of his staff members, he recognized us and was the one who recommended the cheesecake. We will be back to try the sushi and other items as well. I thought the prices were decent and matched the quality and portions to the food perfectly (Tamale: $9, Shortribs: $14, Mini Burgers: $11). For a new restaurant it doesn't appear to have many kinks to iron out!!

      2. re: spicegirls

        I was able to take a quick hope over for lunch and have a quick review:
        * Great ambiance. As mentioned the large wine rack is acts as a tasteful visibility break into the main restaurant. The patio is wonderful now that Fresno has moved a little early into pleasant fall weather. It won't be that pleasant in summer, but that now is thankfully behind us.

        * Service was very nice. The waiter did manage to forget some chopsticks for my sushi but corrected the problem swiftly. He was helpful with the new menu and provided me a dinner menu (again I was there for lunch) to review when asked.

        * For food I had a simple hamachi nigiri. The flesh of the fish was well cut and firm. There wasn't an overabundance of wasabi underneath and the and the rice was flavored well. I was a little disappointed that, given the price and the style of restaurant, that they didn't try to get real wasabi instead of the green horseradish you get everywhere. For my main course I had the hamburgers which I was disappointed with. They were far from bad and nice and juicy...but they were just hamburgers. For that price I could have gone and gotten something from Colorado Grill and brought along a romaine leaf and had something equivalent for less. Not a good deal. If your into cute food for cute foods sake its worthwhile. Otherwise, order something else. I really miss Trellios' hamburger...

        1. re: starkiller

          SK -
          Had similar thoughts - but then again we are still in Fresno. As a business model Pangea is spectacular!!! Upscale bar, combining several restaurant elements that are successful in Fresno(thus far, but I believe that they will be strangling each other in the future) and possibly the best location available today. Pangea will reap its rewards as it is set up to be able to change (smart everything)...

          When talking about the food culture in Fresno, we do not support 'Fine Dining' (wish we would - I would open many!). Ethnic, Fast Casual & Upscale Bar/Restaurants are the best ways to survive in the current scene. As we support and bring in more chain concepts less and less individual local proprietors will get into the business :(

          As for the real Wasabi Root - we were buying it last year for a particular dish and it was costing us over $25.00 lb + shipping. That would add at least $2.00 to your Hamachi! But we can still dream ;)

          1. re: starkiller

            Agree with the burgers as well (see above post). Generically good, but no creativity. What was Trelio's hamburger like?

            1. re: cocktailqueen77

              Her is a picture of the burger -

              It's amazing that no one in Fresno has opened a real Gourmet Burger Shop like a Taylor's Refresher or The Habit.

              1. re: cshack_21

                Thank you for teasing me with that picture (since apparentlyit is no longer available)!! I remember seeing it in Fresno Mag now.

        2. Finally tried Pangea last night. As expected, the place was absolutely packed. All in all, I enjoyed good service, a nice ambiance, and GREAT food. They hit the mark on all three! Plus, the location for me is perfect--as it is located in my neighborhood.

          I tried the sticky rice tamales..very unique and flavorful. We also had the scallops (my favorite) and the vietnamese salad. Also, the sushi was great! Home Run again by the makers of Campagnia!

          2 Replies
            1. re: KenWritez

              None of the prices seemed to be over $16.00 with a median price of about $10.00. My experience for dinner was that you really need to order 2 items or more. The two of us both had two items and a dessert. It was cool for the purpose of having a quick bite and a drink as I had already ate dinner... I am trying to make a little time to try out the sushi side of things.

          1. My fiance and his family went tonight to Pangea. I was excited to try it, but was disappointed. Everyone here gave it good reviews, so perhaps my experience was different. Here are my thoughts:

            1. NOISY, NOISY, NOISY!!! Every new restaurant in town is loud at first as people are trying it out. However, Pangea is easily the loudest place I have been, partly because of the poor design. We were seated in the back in a large room that made me feel like I was in a cafeteria. The chairs looked like ones you get at a reception in a ballroom at a hotel. The ceiling, which appeared to be copper, reflects the sound and it was awful. I could barely hold a conversation with either my fiance or his mother, both of whom were seated right next to me. I did not get a chance to see the front very much. Maybe the sushi bar is better.

            2. It felt like Dirty Olive moved to Fig Garden....the room was filled with loud partiers. Again, the noise issue. It was not classy or elegant when you have a guy across the room yelling. It was sort of pseudo elegant-like Fresno trying to be LA or San Francisco, but falling short.

            3. Dishes I liked okay:
            -Finger linked potatoes
            -Mushroom Risotto
            -Mac and Cheese

            4. Dishes that were pretty good:
            -Korean Style Shortribs
            -Fresh Greens Salad
            -Cheesecake-It was the best item there, but not NY style. Very light and fluffy.

            5. Dishes that were sub par:
            -Other people have liked the scallops. I did not. They were underseared and chewy. When they came to my plate, I smelled fish. That is always a bad sign.

            Wine: We had the Michaud Sangiovese. If you are a fan of European wines, you will probably like this wine. I loved it and it was the best thing at the meal.

            Overall: I prefer Cracked Pepper Bistro, The Manhattan, Five, Campaigna's, and Max's. My biggest complaint is the noise. Service was okay, but it was hard to hear what our waitress was saying because it was so loud!!!! Food was just average overall.

            3 Replies
            1. re: brwn97eyes

              Yea! Michael Michaud's Sangio is Fab!!!

              1. re: brwn97eyes

                It's nice to see people commenting more on the CPB. I guess it's obvious that I adore that place. I haven't been to Campagnia's in a long while. I can't say that I was overly impressed with it when we last visited. Max' you mean Max's Bistro out at West and Bullard I think? Or am I mistaken? I've only been to Max's for lunch and also had them cater a private party.

                I really feel out of touch, cuisine wise these days. Life has been a roller coaster lately. I've not been to Manhattan or Five and sorry to say, hadn't even heard of Pangea. My last outing to eat was last weekend, we drove the long 2 miles to Salazar's in Old Town Clovis. We were jaywalking across Clovis Ave and I saw Trelio. I haven't been there in years either. It's funny the ruts we get into. I know I have to start venturing out. I guess I'm a loyal person. When I adore a place, I frequent it. I really need to put these other places on my list!

                1. re: mrsmegawatt

                  Yes, Max's Bistro. The service there is usually great and gotta have the sweet potato fries!

              2. This week's Fig Garden Villager had a note in the events calendar that they are now serving a Sunday brunch buffet from 11 am to 2 pm. Price includes a complimentary glass of champagne and the Eva Scow Trio playing acoustic jazz on the patio. Details at 559-225-3800.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PolarBear

                  Thanks PB...I am always looking for a good brunch place. I called this evening and found out they have Brioche French Toast, Omelets made to order, Chorizo frittata, and cornbread biscuits with honey butter...sounds a bit interesting. I will check it out with the family and report back. Thanks again

                2. The boyfriend and I tried Pangea on Thursday. Between the two of us the Bill came in under fifty dollars including a wonderful bittersweet chocolate cake. The boyfriend was pleased with his macaroni and cheese with a side of fingerling potato hash. My salmon was a wonderful texture and Is ideal if you want salmon for the flavor of salmon. My only complaint was the glass of rum , garnished with wilted rotting mint (black spots and all), that they tried to pass off as a Mojito. Well I guess no one is perfect.