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Nov 8, 2009 09:32 AM

Pazo -- whoa, that was awful

On Saturday Courtney and I went to see a movie at the Charles. I was planning to take her to Abacrombie afterward, but since we'd be eating very early I didn't think we'd need a reservation. Note: this is a bad idea. When we entered the empty restaurant shortly after their 5 pm opening, we were told that every table was reserved for the Meyerhoff crowd. Kicked back out on the street, we started racking our brains for alternates.

Courtney suggested Pazo, since she'd never been. I had been in their early days when they were the hot, hip new place and had mixed experiences, but was game for a re-visit. Note: this was also a bad idea.

Upon entering, we noticed two large signs on easels in the entryway spelling out the Pazo dress code. Among other things, ripped athletic gear is forbidden and ladies must wear shoes. This ghetto touch made us apprehensive from the start.

We were led to a table upstairs on the railing. Courtney ordered a Plymouth martini, but had to settle for Hendricks. I ordered a Stoudt double IPA.

I chose six tapas -- two each from the Land, Sea and Field menus. None of them was particularly memorable, or even really good. Our lamb meatballs with mint and tomato had no flavor of either lamb or mint. Beef tartare was ok, but had way too much sweet pepper that overwhelmed the beef flavor. Grilled octopus was bland and rubbery. White anchovies were very good, although they came straight from tin to table. Crostini with a pureed goat cheese was decent if not great. The best dish was a goat cheese stuffed angnolotti with brown butter and mushrooms.

Courtney ordered a second cocktail of cava and peach nectar which she thought was just ok.

Service was friendly if a tad slow. All in all this was a really disappointing meal. With the exception of one or two dishes, it was bland, overpriced and not exciting in the least. I can't see bothering to return.

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  1. We had a very different experience about a month ago with friends from out of town. The calamari eaters raved about the squid, so maybe it was a better choice than the octopus, but that sort of inconsistency is not a good thing with so many choices.

    I wish I could remember more of what we had, but everyone was satisfied. The pizza has a unique crust. The fish eaters like the ceviche. The bread was truly delicious. We also like the goat cheese pasta.

    There were major snags with the delivery, though. They would bring us something we had already gotten or something we didn't order that must have been headed for the wrong table. We tried our best to be honest about it, but there were times we had forgotten what we had ordered, but we usually got it right. They did end up leaving an extra serving of the squid and the ceviche, even after we told them we had already gotten the first order.

    1. I agree, the last time I ate at Pazo (which will be the last time) the food was "eh" bordering on bad and the crowd obnoxious.

      1. I'm not a fan of Pazo myself, but I don't see anything in the review that supports the headline of "awful". Some things were "ok", "good", "very good", "decent" others "bland", not exciting, etc... Some good, some not so good. It just sounds like you had an average meal at above average prices. Unfortunate, maybe. But that's not awful.

        You say nothing was "even really good" and then go on to say the white anchovies were "very good". And the agnolotti was even better than the the anchovies, so that must have been at least "very good", as well.

        It seems like the title is there just to get attention...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chowtimore

          I see the confusion, but in fact the entire experience did equate to awful, even though there were a couple of ok dishes. Good anchovies brought to me from a can and one decent dish does not make up for four others that ranged from lousy to ok. Also, for the prices we paid the whole meal should have been much better.

          I stand by awful as an accurate summation.

          I'm a big fan of Jerry Pellegrino's Corks, and will make a reservation for Abacrombie the next time I decide on a post-movie dinner.

          1. re: JonParker

            I also happen to agree what assessment of Pazo....been twice and will probably never go back. I found the food bland, poorly constructed, and not worth the money they charge. I also found the service to be not extremely professional something I would expect from Applebees...wrong dishes brought at wrong times. The space is beautiful and a treat for the eyes, but alas the spacing of tables and the crowd noise just about ruins it.

            1. re: JonParker

              I'm curious what you eat at Corks. We live in the neighborhood and would like to like it but the past two times we went were horrible. The first time I ordered Fish and Chips and the center of the fish was cold. How hard is it to make Fish and Chips? The second time my wife ordered salmon and it was still raw in the middle. To me these are basic and simple things to cook and, unfortunately, probably prevent us from ever returning.

          2. I have felt exactly the same way as you when first visiting Pazo. It is a bit too much style or scene over cooking. While the space is beautiful the inches between tables and the "mediterranean" menu have turned me off. That being said, I've felt since attending the Emilio Moro wine dinner this Summer that they were improving. The Suckling Pig was perfectly cooked, the arroz con verduras was excellent and the trials with a home cured chorizo were promising. The staff was up to the other Wolf/Forman restaurants. I only wish the chef would concentrate on dishes like these and forget about the hipsters that have to be told not to wear their backward baseball caps to a restaurant.

            1. This is November, a year later, an update of sorts.
              I am from Montreal where tapa restaurants are coming up and wowing us with small exquisite portions of impeccable foods. Not all are great, but for instant, Pintxo is a must if you go to Montreal and enjoy tapas.

              I was sor of expecting this at Pazo which was highly recommended.

              Pazo looks so wonderful when you step inside, the decor is fantabulous.
              The service was also quick and pleasant which we appreciated. Be warned, though this is a tapas restaurant, the servings are large and three tapas can be too much.

              Unfortunately, the food leaves to be desired, let's start with the swordfish, two generous pieces, but lacking any seasoning, the zuchini cakes were actually one of the fair dishes, though a bit of lemon would have worked wonders and again, under seasoned. The best of them all was the ceviche.Kudos! the seafood tender, yummy and perfectly seasoned. My eating partner also had the mushrooms, the portion was large, as were the mushrooms, but lacking in taste and tasting too much like the grill, I was not surprised to see the plate go back half eaten.

              The catallan pizza was also yummy, worst was the potato cakes with ham, I am afraid it looks as if they were bought frozen and dumped in the fryer. after one and a half, I could not force myself to eat them. The other over fried food was the crab, the dough was deeply fried and the crab tasteless. I felt bad for our server, she was so pleasant.
              Our wines were however quite good and the glassware beautiful, I always appreciate being served wine in a Riedel glass even if I am not buying a whole bottle.

              This place was hopping, the lounge area with the sofas just look so inviting, once there you want the food to be as delicious as the place, I really hope admin looks into this uneven preparation of food and seriously look into rethinking their food. SO much promise, not much delivery, quel dommage!

              Pazo Restaurant
              1425 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21201

              4 Replies
              1. re: Richelle

                Just curious, what source highly recommended Pazo?

                Not this thread, I'm guessing......

                Pazo Restaurant
                1425 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                1. re: Steve

                  LOL...No indeed, if I had had working internet and done my research as I usually do, I would not have gone!
                  It was suggested by the Innkeeper. :(

                  1. re: Richelle

                    I believe Pazo just recently took on a new chef and a new's unfortunate that it sounds from this review that things continue to spiral downward, Has anyone else tried the new menu?

                    Pazo Restaurant
                    1425 Aliceanna St, Baltimore, MD 21201

                    1. re: Jason1

                      I do feel bad because the place is so beautiful and the potential is there.