The reviews here at TripAdvisor encouraged us to try Pazzaluna. It was mere steps away from our hotel at the St. Paul. We were greeted by a cheerful host that was not reluctant to let us know that there was still time to enjoy their Happy Hour specials at the bar. After sitting for dinner and looking at the HH 4 to 6 p.m. specials that include hefty discounts on several popular appetizers like one of their pizzas and calamari, not to mention reduced drinks, we will probably return for Happy Hour and dessert. The restaurant was relatively quiet and about 1/4 full when we arrived but by the time we left around 7:30 was filled with several large parties (one was at least 15) and both business diners and couples. However, the restaurant was not too loud to enjoy conversation. We were seated in a booth that allowed us to see a bit of the action in the kitchen without all of the hustle of the seats at its kitchen bar. The bread and olive tapenade made the meal along with our attentive bread and water server Ben who was friendly and a good ambassador for the city.
My beet salad was flavorful under melted goat cheese. My husband's bruschetta with roasted garlic and gorgonzola was interesting. The garlic and gorgonzola was a cold, creamy mixture on top of two slices of toasted bread. Delicious but keep in mind they give you enough of the garlic "cream" to butter an entire bread basket. So ask for a basket if it hasn't already arrived at your table to stretch out this appetizer. The bruschetta would have been better if the "cream" was brought to room temperature before serving, I feel.
It was difficult to decide on an entrée, so we ordered a half of the duck ravioli along with the Sea Bass on polenta and puttanesca and the Chicken Parmesan. The promise of foie gras in the duck ravioli was executed very minimally and its broth similar to weak chicken stock. The ravioli pasta was a bit hard and undercooked. I was glad we chose to get it in a half order and not a full entrée. The Sea Bass sat in a delicious pool of polenta and savory puttanesca and my husband practically liked his plate clean. After getting a less-than-encouraging recommendation of the brisket lasagna from our server, I chose the Chicken Parmesan. It was overcooked. But the four cheese sauce and pomodora sauce made up for it. I asked for additional pomodora sauce and scraped off the outer coating of the chicken to enjoy it. I highly recommend getting a dish with the pomodora or four-cheese sauce. The Frangelico Pecan Pie caught our eye while reading the menu online, and it was a recommendation of Ben's with the addition of ordering its vanilla gelato on the side and asking for the caramel sea salt gelato instead to accompany it. We were not disappointed. The salty caramel gelato took the pie to a new height of flavor layers. Although its cardboard-textured crust needs significant improvement, it was chock-full of pecans. A must-try.
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