It was an absolutely gorgeous in Boston this weekend- blue skies, birds chirping, temperatures up into the 80's. It was a picture perfect early summer weekend. A great weekend to take in Boston by foot. Of course this also builds up a bit of an appetite as well, so when hunger set in my beautiful Saturday companion and I popped into a new Newbury Street restaurant Pazzo to check out its fare.
Pazzo opened about a month or two ago in the space formerly held by Croma, which was a fairly average upscale pizza place. Pazzo, under the guide of chef Bill Bradley promised a more comprehensive Italian themed menu, a nice turn around from its sister restaurant Tapeo, a Mediterranean tapas restaurant also located on Newbury Street.
As we had worked up our appetites rather substantially, we opted to sit at the first available table, as opposed to waiting for a table on their patio. We were sat immediately inside. Our waitress, who was doubling as the bartender as well, immediately brought us bread for the table, served with a delicious white bean puree. This was surely a sign of good things to come. The bread was wonderfully fresh, and had a nice eggy texture, and the puree had just a hint of garlic, and the luxury of olive oil. We ordered drinks and then set to the menu.
We chose to start with the Aranice Telephono, billed as Saffron Risotto balls stuffed with Mozzarella cheese. The delicate little balls were fried golden brown and served on top of a Marinara sauce with a little fresh parsley over the top. Arancine are one of those appetizers I cannot get enough of- and these did not disappoint. The risotto was nicely prepared on the inside and glowed that beautiful yellow that Saffron brings to the table. The Mozzarella inside was a wonderful little addition, melted and stringy. The star though I thought was the Marinara sauce-as just an aside to the meal I found it was a bit of a show stealer! Really nice subtle flavors-a good Marinara.
I settled on their Salmon salad as my main. Billed as grilled Salmon served with asparagus, feta, white beans, feta, pesto, and mint, it really sounded light and delicious. Unfortunately- it was not as light as I had originally hoped. Served was a generous portion of perfectly cooked Salmon. Grilled and charred on the outside-beautifully pink on the inside. The salmon was wonderful. The asparagus was nicely al dente still, and the rest of the "salad" flowed nicely with the different tastes and flavors. However, it was literally drenched in feta cheese and oil. I had felt that the pesto would be enough of a dressing, however they had then added another 1/4 of a cup or so of just plain oil to the dish, that while it looked pretty, was rather unnecessary to the meal. The feta was tasty, but was again, just too heavy handed. Honestly I found it a shame, the flavors were so light an beautiful- mint with pesto, bright asparagus, the buttery nature of the beans...it all just got a little lost under the oil and cheese.
My companion selected on of their pizzas- roasted garlic, Cambozola cheese and olive tapenade which sounded delicious, but sadly fell flat. As I had to look it up myself- Cambozola Cheese is a cows based cheese-a combination of a French triple cream and a Gorgonzola. I would have anticipated the pungent Gorgonzola to shine through, and be nicely complimented with the salty olive tapenade. Unfortunately I feel that they used too much cheese and it rather drowned out the rest of the ingredients. Again, a shame for a dish with promise.
Overall, I think that Pazzo has good things in store. They have a good concept, the dishes sound fantastic, and their location is fantastic. If they are able to ease up on the heavy hand, I think that they could have a really nice addition to Newbury in store- a real step up from its predecessor.
As an aside- their cocktail menu featured some fantastic sounding concoctions and we both really enjoyed the drinks that we got-though their names escape me.
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