Everything old is new again

Illustration by Mark Stivers

Fresh paint: After 15 months and $1 million in renovations, Paragary’s will reopen for dinner Friday, June 12.

The space looks amazing—and amazingly different. What once felt like a dark pub is now open and bright, with higher ceilings, larger windows and a Parisian flair. Randy Paragary’s wife Stacy was highly involved in the design, inspired by travels to create a “riff on a French bistro meets English pub meets California modern,” she said. Floor tiles came from Vietnam; modern light fixtures from Los Angeles and Montreal; the walnut hostess stand is actually made from the restaurant’s old walls. The fireplace is gone; instead, indoor diners can appreciate a view of the still-gorgeous patio.

Randy Paragary said he started planning the reboot five years ago.

“I always felt our food was high-quality,” he said. “But we certainly fell behind with decor and atmosphere, and that’s definitely part of why people go out to eat.”

That said, the menu got a major overhaul as well. Some staples remain: wood-fired pizzas, hand-cut rosemary pasta with chicken and pancetta, the sliced mushroom salad. But with chef Scott Ostrander (previously at Esquire Grill) heading the kitchen, Paragary’s menu—still Californian with Mediterranean influences—skews more French.

“I think French is the proper way to show technique and appreciation for food and ingredients,” Ostrander said.

Think chicken ballotine, cherry tarte tatin and crab beignets. And speaking of crab, expect much more seafood at the new Paragary’s—something of a rarity at Sacramento restaurants.

“I’m getting to use more and more obscure ingredients, which I love and farmers love,” Ostrander said, such as slightly sour, leafy purslane; borage, a blue flower.

As for price point? Let’s just say there’s a $16 burger.

News on MARRS: Pizzeria Urbano is finally back open after suffering a fire in March. And over at the neighboring Block Butcher Bar, you can expect a slightly revamped menu coming soon. Yes, items change seasonally, but the menu has largely stayed the same since Block opened—even though its original chef, Michael Tuohy, left months ago.

Now, A llyson Harvie is the culinary director of Block and LowBrau, and she’ll be adding a few new dishes on top of two desserts she started serving a few weeks ago. Harvie has held posts at formidable San Francisco restaurants, such as Citizen Cake, Ragazza and Absinthe.