Chef Gerard Pangaud is doing his duty
Gerard Pangaud is back at the stove, this time at ... the Pentagon?
“It’s the best of both worlds,” says the veteran French chef, who left Gerard’s Place for the worlds of academia and consulting two years before the restaurant closed in 2008. (It's now the site of Siroc.)
Pangaud is now the top toque at the 220-seat Pentagon Dining Room. “It’s open only for lunch, Monday through Friday," he says. "I still have a life.” The restaurant, which was closed for a 2 1/2-year renovation and unveiled in December, is closed to the general public, although authorized guests may eat there.
In his new roost on the concourse level of the mammoth complex, Pangaud is serving some simplified memories from his haute eponymous restaurant, among them mushroom-crusted cod, braised short ribs and the chef’s signature mango tarte Tatin. “The average check is $16-$17,” he says. The menu also fits in some basics. “The macaroni and cheese with Virginia ham is to die for,” boasts the chef, 57.
You don’t have to be a Pentagon worker or guest to experience his other project. Pangaud is also consulting for the Blue Rock Inn, two miles away from the fabled Inn at Little Washington in Washington, Va. Under new management and following a makeover, the restaurant portion of Blue Rock is expected to reopen in March with Rachel Roland, a former sous chef from the shuttered Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Flint Hill, at the helm. “I look for people who are local,” says Pangaud, who hired Roland, wrote the menu and is responsible for training kitchen staff.
Blue Rock’s bar will offer hamburgers and roast chicken; a 40-seat dining room will serve more sophisticated fare. Pangaud’s goal for the venue is lofty: “We want to be the second-best restaurant" in town.
-- Tom Sietsema
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