A special dining experience was in order for an exceptional guest, our son a Marine who was being deployed to the Middle-East in a matter of days. The young man likes great steak and exquisite pasta. What better way to satisfy both than at Po Pazzo?
Upon entering the classic interior, you can almost smell the deep rich wood. Overhead are wonderfully unique chandeliers designed in the form of tree branches. The imagination continues with stunning stained glass surrounding the kitchen, keeping the secrets of the culinary artistry veiled just beyond.
You can’t help but be taken by the sprawling sophisticated bar, dwarfed by a dark wood arched beam that towers above rows of liquors and spirits. Add the decorative copper and brass fixtures and you have the makings of a good time. We bet there isn’t anything you could order that they can’t make for you – the bar is stocked (we highly recommended the tasty “James Bond Martini”, a classic, shaken, not stirred of course).
Our party of six was pleasantly greeted and quickly escorted to our comfortable table, half banquet, half chairs. We loved the unusual curved silverware and water glasses which let you know you are someplace special. After settling in and exploring the menus offerings, we visited the wine list. We selected a 2005 St. Hallett Baroosa Fath Shiraz that was simply exquisite (by the way it’s bin #134).
No matter how delightful the ambiance, it’s the food that makes or breaks any restaurant. At Po Pazzo, the delectable food was a feast from start to finish. Since it was a night to celebrate, we ordered the Chilled Seafood Platter (Alaskan King Crab Legs, Cocktail Shrimp, Oysters, Clams, Mussels with cocktail sauce and horseradish cream). Admittedly, we’ve seen more unique presentations but where it lacked in presentation it more than made up for in taste and presentation. There was plenty for all to sample.
For starters we sampled the soup of the day a Tomato Bisque (which was a soothing, warm concoction for the soul). We also had the Classic Caesar Salad (Romaine, shaved Parmesan cheese, Crostini and Anchovy Filet) which was classically orchestrated with a bit of a bite and the Iceberg Lettuce Wedge (Bleu Cheese Dressing, Crisp Shallots, Crumbled Maytag Blue Cheese). Both were delightful and enough for several of us to share and enjoy.
Spaghetti and Meatballs (served
with Bolognese Sauce, with beef
meatball, Italian Sausage and ribs)
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Next up was the moment of truth – our entrees. A couple of orders of Spaghetti and Meatballs (served with Bolognese Sauce, with beef meatball, Italian Sausage and ribs) and a Penne Pesto Chicken (Pine Nuts, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Chicken in a Pesto Cream Sauce). As we said earlier, we love our pasta and these dishes rose to the occasion. The “what-could-have-been-typical spaghetti dish” was brilliantly over-the-top with its additions of beef, sausage and rib meat. The sauce was hearty, soothing in flavor and simply divine. The same can be said for the Pesto chicken which was rich, delicious and plentiful.
Lamb Chops with an apple mint
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Not to be outdone were the splendid steaks (Rib Eye, an 18-ounce prime bone-in) and Sicilian Style Rib Eye (same rib-eye dusted with seasoned Italian Breadcrumbs and broiled). Another favorite is the Lamb Chops (New Zealand Lamb Chops Herb Crusted and finished with an Apple Mint Demi, glazed served with Truffle Mashed Potatoes and Steamed Asparagus). The steaks are USDA prime-corn fed and are cooked in a 1700 degree infrared broiler for “maximum flavor and browning and boy, it works. The meat was so tender and both versions of rib-eyes were flavored spectacularly. An extra nod to the gratifying Sicilian style (one of the most flavorful steaks we’ve ever had). The Lamb Chops were delightfully moist with a perfect sear and the potatoes and asparagus added to the flavorful banquet of the meal. Fabulous!
Do not pass up on the wonderful Pazzo Sides. We devoured the likes of Brocciflower Gratin (mashed with Parmesan cheese, garlic and Crème Fraiche) and Michele’s Fries (shoestring potatoes seasoned with Parmesan cheese and White Truffle Oil). Both were uniquely seasoned and, wow, talk about the best fries ever. The blend of the Truffle oil and cheese just sent these into the stratosphere! We couldn’t stop talking about it and would go back just for another round of fries.
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At this point our palettes had been dazzled and were looking for someplace to lie down but Po Pazzo would have none of that. When they heard we had a deploying Marine at our table, they sent over enough desserts for a platoon and we savored every morsel. We enjoyed the Strawberry Neapolitan that was soooo unbelievably fantastic with its light, sweet creamy texture. The hazelnut Tiramisu was not to be outdone with its spongy, velvety flavor.
Po Pazzo has all of the makings of a wonderful dining experience, whether it’s a special occasion or you just want excellent food. Add an amazing staff (ask for Wander, a charming Brazilian gent) who are knowledgeable and almost seemed to know what you wanted before you did and you have it made. The wait between ordering and delivery of food seemed a bit long, but when you are enjoying the evening with loved ones, we at least had nothing but time. Enjoy!
- City: San Diego, CA 92101
- Phone: 619-238-1917
- Name: Po Pazzo
- Address: 1917 India Street "Little Italy"