Sunday, May 31, 2009

Better Late Then Never: The Press Herald Strikes Again

Tastes and textures of Italy carry the day at Paciarino
Translation: I've Wandered into Another Dimension.

Not much registers with the senses at first as you push your fork around a dish of pasta at Paciarino, aside from the cute little curve of the house maccheroni – ridged and short tubes of pasta.

I can't hear anything, smell anything, or feel the weight of my fork as I vacantly push my food around on the plate. Boy, that little curve sure is cute... I wonder what it tastes like.. Hmmmm..

But a bite or two into your meal, the inner quiet is broken by a resounding encounter with good flavor and perfect texture.

HOLY LIVING FUCK! My neck snapped back and I almost fell out of my chair. My pulse starts to race and my entire world is thrown into a tornado of pasta and emotional turmoil... I have never encountered anything like this before in my life, this is going to change EVERYTHING.

A ragu di tonno, or tuna ragu sauce, registers its ferocity with hot pepper and the savor with salty rich tuna ($13.75). Cannelloni, wrapped in a sheet of pasta almost as diaphanous as a woman's stocking, bursts with creamy chopped chard and the tang of good Parmigiano Reggiano.

Ragu is Italian for Ragu, but don't let the funny words fool you. Once you've taken steps to unleash the ferocity of the Tuna in your Tonno Ragu you just may never look at Tuna when you order Tonno in a restaurant the same way ever again. The Canneloni reminds me of the good old days when I was so busy eating women's stockings that i had no time to review food. The chard was creamy like a young man's hamstrings.

Ravioli as plump as an overstuffed pillow encloses toothsome Maine shrimp and haddock, dense and yet irresistibly tender.

As plump as an overstuffed pillow that puts me to sleep where I have vivid and terrifying dreams of being chased by toothsome haddock..

The details carry the day in these straightforward dishes, while the thickness of the pasta and the resilience of the briefly cooked noodles provide a texture unique to the best rustic Italian cuisine.

The thickness of the pasta and the resilience of the briefly cooked noodles are NOT details, therefore they DO NOT carry the day..

Those tastes and textures almost erase the difficulty of hearing the waitress across a table. With any luck, you will have an indulgent table mate happy to repeat every word. Amid the painted brick walls and wood floors, the open, high-ceilinged space of Paciarino echoes with voices and noise.

The tastes and textures actually made the waitress louder, like some kind of culinary hearing-aid, while my food remained quiet as a church mouse. If you have any luck at all, you can annoy the living fuck out of the person next to you as they indulge your inability to pay attention and repeat every word the waitress says.

Still, with its large abstract paintings, the restaurant does give a feeling of space. The pale wood tables are set with placemats and wooden oblongs on which the variously decorated plates and bowls are set.

The oblongs carry the day here.

A wooden candlestick sits on a square of dark slate, its candle lighting the table until, as it did on our visit, the whole top of the candlestick quietly started to burn. The server whisked it away with an experienced sigh.

I always hate it when my server sighs in an inexperienced manner. I nodded knowingly to my dining companion as I listened to the experienced nature of the sigh. A wooden candlestick on a square of dark slate brought visions of blood and fire. As the whole top of the candlestick started to burn, my soul was aflame with the dark passions of women's stocking and creamy chard..

Fabiana De Savino and Enrico Barbiero opened Paciarino at the end of 2008 as a pasta shop. They still sell its packaged house pasta and sauces, along with a range of products from Frantoio di Sant'Agata d'Oneglia.

What's That? Something relevant? Holy Shit....

Little tins of olive oil from that producer, made with olives grown on the west coast of Liguria in northwestern Italy, are set on each table to pour on a plate for moistening the bread.

From what producer? The olive oil is made from Olives? Get the fuck out of town! They are set on each table to pour on a plate for moistening the bread, not for masturbating with.

My wine aficionado companions were eager to taste the 2007 Pala Crabilis ($8 a glass, $24 a bottle) from Sardinia, a favorite wine region. It proved remarkable, with a delightful finish and perfect acidity from the fragrant vermentino grape from which it was made.

Sardinia is a favorite wine region. Of whom I'm not sure. I'm glad it was able to achieve perfect acidity from the Vermentino grape, from which it was made, as opposed to inspired by.

The 2006 Terre de Trinci Sangiovese ($6 a glass, $23 a bottle) was pronounced a good rustic red table wine, perfect with a plate of maccheroni al ragu' di tonno. But one tablemate was disgruntled with the tumbler-like wine glasses, however authentic they may be.

I arose from my chair and began banging on my glass with my butter knife. When I had the entire room's attention, I raised my glass and declared my Sangiovese to be "Awesome with my plate of maccheroni al ragu (Italian for Ragu) di tonno (Italian for Tuna)." My table mate got his/her panties all up in a bunch about the juicey-juice glasses, and wouldn't shut the fuck up about how authentic they "may be." I forgave him/her however, because they helped me understand the waitress earlier.

Ten red and white wines and two dessert wines are all reasonable in price, with a splurge of $40 for a Tenuta Vitanza Rosso di Montalcino, the list's "baby Brunello."

Every list has a "Baby Brunello." Baby. Baby, You Gotta Splurge! Baby! Bitch!

From the antipasto list – perfectly situated on the menu before its nine pasta dishes – the torta salata della casa ($6.75) turned out that night to include a wedge of goat cheese tart, crumbly and delicate, and a slice of a tart made with greens such as Swiss chard and spinach, set in a slightly tangy custard. Too much nutmeg, pronounced one of us; but just enough for those who enjoy it in this northern Italian specialty.

The antipasto list was in a great position to shine.The torta salata della casa turned out that night to include a wedge of goat cheese tart, sasquatch root, fantasia fish, and friendship mushrooms. Once again I arose from my seat and started banging on my glass with the butter knife. Once I had everyone's attention, I declared that my shit turned out to be too "Nutmeggy." but just enough if any of you dumb motherfuckers enjoy it in this Northern Italian Specialty..

Crostini all'Italiana ($5.95) showcases the shop's tapenade, both from oily, intense black olives and creamier green. An artichoke pate and a goat cheese spread were more on the plate. But not-very-chewy plain white bread was not the best vehicle for them.

Nothin' like them Creamy Greens... Not-Very-Chewy bread is a traditional Italian favorite. Not-So-Much my favorite but what are you going to do?

Prosciutto crudo e melone ($11.75) doesn't shirk on expensive, mountain-air-dried ham, with several thin slices overlapping three fat wedges of cantaloupe, which improved after losing its refrigerated chill.

Prosciutto Crudo as You Know Makes Me Go Bonkers and Go with the Flow and Slap the Ho.

Next up was Cannelloni di Magro ($15.95), a generous serving of stuffed pasta rolls touched with a little cream and grated cheese. The stuffing of chopped, tender greens enrobed with cream was perfectly wonderful – even reheated,...that sin against fresh pasta, for lunch another day.

As I gently and tenderly de-robed the greens they started to shiver. I assured them that there was nothing to be afraid of..
I got all fucked up and tossed these bitches in the microwave later. Fucking Awesome!

The ravioli di pesce, seafood ravioli, ($16.95) had been made with chopped Maine shrimp and haddock as well as some ricotta. The utterly fresh stuffing inside the thin house pasta could not have been better – except that a deep red sauce of tomatoes, no doubt another Italian product artfully canned at full ripeness, offset the slight sweetness of the seafood with its own, more meaty flavor.

Pesce is Italian for "Fish." As I mentioned earlier, these terrifying little visions of fire were plump as an overstuffed pillow. Artfully canned, utterly fresh, and meaty..No doubt this shit was Italian!

Who could resist a return trip to taste the goat cheese ravioli ($14.75) or the ravioli made with ricotta and spinach served with Bolognese sauce? Even the simple dish of spaghetti, garlic, oil and peppery peperoncini appeals with its promise of high-quality ingredients.

The ravioli promised me that It would be good. I couldn't resist a return trip, I'll tell you - Once you pop, You can't stop. Peppery Peperoncini Pepperiness Peppers My Thoughts with Dreams of Peppadews.

Dessert was boccondivino ($7.25), espresso-soaked amaretto cookies sandwiching marscapone that crumbled in the mouth. One bittersweet chocolate chip on top of a heap of the marscapone in the middle of the plate made another exalted mouthful.

I've got an exalted mouthful for you. Sorry.

Vanilla gelato with strawberries and "balsamic cream" ($8.50) and Tiramisu ($7.25) are more reasons why, despite the low price of the entrees, dining inexpensively at this restaurant can be a challenge.

What the fuck are you talking about?

Espresso, nicely capped with its crema, finished the meal.

Somebody Kill Me Now.


  1. I've been counting the days since this review came out for you to write something in response. Hurrah!

  2. haha, that was a lot of douchebaggery. i wonder if the food reviewer of the phoenix similarly gets your dander up? cuz i would love to see you take him and his awful extended metaphors to task.

  3. Your oblong diaphanousness is chafing my nutmeg

  4. what your friends won't tell you is that your writing is equally tedious -- only in a bitter more boozy, i'm too cool for school way.

  5. Bitter, Boozy, and Too Cool for School. That actually is the kind of person I am so yeah, my writing should reflect that.

  6. my grandma made me read the original review out loud to her, and the whole time i kept thinking about how i couldn't wait for you to respond.