by Jake Swain
The Culinary Institute of America’s temporary restaurant Pangea will be closing Wednesday, July 1. The restaurant has served as a testing ground for seasoned students to pitch dish concepts, become accustomed to cooking for a dining room filled primarily with blasé foodies, and face the many general stresses of a chef’s life. Pangea is conceptualized as a pop-up restaurant—a new trend in which dining places embrace ephemerality and provide a culinary experience in a unique location for a short-lived period, often on a limited budget.
Diners should expect a gastronomical vision that goes beyond the usual very involved and complicated dishes served at upscale restaurants. Pangea has ideas behind its food. The student chefs prepare dishes that are grain- and plant-centric, and use animal proteins sparingly. The more vegetal menu that Pangea offers is meant to start conversations about sustainability and debunk the myth that it’s near-impossible to cook food that is nutritionally valuable and delicious. And those conversations can be started with your table-mates if you choose to dine at one of the communal tables Pangea offers. Of course, if you’re opting for a more romantic meal—or wince at the thought of voluntarily letting strangers watch you eat—private tables are also available. The menu is prix fixe and includes five courses, with a total of ten personal or shared dishes. If that sounds like an amount of food that is disproportionate to your stomach’s At Capacity parameters, remember that at these types of sybaritic restaurants that serve high-cuisine, the portion sizes are not exactly the drawing point. That would be the flavors. The restaurant serves a combination of diverse cuisines from around the world including Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Malaysian, and Vietnamese styles.
So before July comes and Pangea serves its final flavor-filled dish, purchase a $29 ticket for its dinner service here (yes, a ticket; Pangea uses a ticketing system instead of taking traditional reservations). Vegetarian options are available.
Read more coverage on Pangea from Chronogram here.
Pangea is located at 1946 Campus Drive (Route 9) in Hyde Park.