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Pazo Restaurant

February 26, 2006

This past Saturday Josh and I went to a restaurant I’d been wanting to visit for about a year. I’d read positive reviews in various newspapers and magazines, and had heard varying opinions from friends. The restaurant is Cindy Wolf’s Pazo. Cindy Wolf is the owner of Baltimore’s famous Charleston and Petit Louis.

My first interaction with the restaurant was the website. The photos of the dining area alone made me want to visit. Next, a quick look at the menu determined that I had to visit. Pazo is a galician word which means “grand house” and specializes in Mediterranean “small plates” also known as tapas. The ideas is that you order lost of these small plates and share them with everyone at the table. I’d only had one other tapas experience (and it is an experience) in D.C. at a restaurant names Jaleo, which was the most delicious dining experience I think I’d ever had. So I was excited to try some more tapas.

First of all, reserve your table! When I called on Friday morning the only openings were for the 5-5:30 and 10:00 p.m. time slots. When we arrived at the restaurant, a huge banner with the restaurant’s logo hung from the side of the building. The building is a refurbished industrial building. Stepping inside, the atmosphere was expansive while remaining cozy. The ceilings were about 50 feet high and you could see the exposed beams of the building. Despite this openness, it was cozy due to the warm rustic colors and low lighting. It really did feel like a grand rustic Italian house.

We were greeted and taken to a small table. The tables were all varied in nature. There was a large family style table, cozy circular tables on the side, a lounge “living room” like area across from the bar, and then more regular small rectangular tables that sat two people, which was the kind we got. I loved the visual identity the owners developed. The logo is whimsically fashioned out of silverware. This motif was stamped on the plates, the napkins, the handsome menus, and even the female servers wore necklaces with the motif fashioned out of metal. Okay, I know you go to a restaurant to eat, but I’m a graphic designer, I love it when design elements are used interestingly!

Service was excellent. Our female server was knowledgeable, explained the concept of the restaurant, and made suggestions. There was delicious nutty sunflower bread to start nibbling on while figuring out what we wanted to order. We ordered everything at once, and our server spaced everything out beautifully so that the heavy items were spaced out but that the meal progressed overall from the lighter to more filling plates. The calamari was the best I ever had and the dipping sauce was delicious. The bruschetta had a soft cheese spread with shallots, which was interestingly sweet. We had mozzarella with roasted red peppers and basil, rabbit meat wrapped in pasta (ravioli like), garlic shrimp, romaine hearts drizzled with sherry, peppers, and cheese, and roasted quail with apples. Josh and I loved everything, but the romaine hearts were the least tasty. We recommend the calamari, bruschetta, and quail the most. Also, we ordered wine and the portion given to us in our glass seemed less than the normal glass you get a restaurants.

Josh and I were not disappointed by our meal. However, although excellent, Josh and I didn’t think the food measured up to Jaleo, but the atmosphere was better. Pazo made you want to linger, and you could if you wanted to, move to the lounge area, if there’s room. I definitely recommend experiencing Pazo for yourself. It’s worth it, at least once. I also recommend going with good friends that you don’t mind sharing finger food with. However, it is noisy, so go with a couple you know well and aren’t trying to get to know, but just enjoy the atmosphere with.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2006 7:44 pm

    sounds like a fun date! It is always fun trying out new resturants!
    If you guys ever head up to Madison, there are a lot of wonderful places up here!

  2. February 27, 2006 9:58 pm

    Mmmm, yum! I’ll have to add that to my list of Places at Which to Eat Before I Die!

    And, no, I’m not going to be able to make it to NA. My work/school schedule precludes that this year. Cest la vie!

    Oh, and my degree will be a BS in Business Management.

  3. March 2, 2006 11:05 am

    You ate Thumper?

    I wouldn’t mind trying this restaurant. I love all your details,down to the server’s necklaces, and your honest comparisons of food vs atmosphere.
    Paul and I are always up for trying new restaurants. If you were to choose to go again to one or the other, which would it be–Pazo or Jaleo’s?

  4. Lori Chambers permalink
    March 25, 2006 2:20 pm

    My husband and I have explored many restaurants in the city and this is by far my favorite! You describe it so well. I actually thought the food was quite good, but then again I have never been to Jaleo.

    By the way, I think you are a fabulous writer!

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