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“Good - but not Tavern Good”
Review of Cucina Pazzo - CLOSED

Cucina Pazzo
Cuisines: Italian
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed January 31, 2014

My partner and I are frequent guests at Cucina Pazzo’s sister restaurant – The Tavern in Valley Park. So when this opened in late 2013, we had to give it a try because we absolutely love The Tavern. We headed down to the Central West End to give the old home of Duff’s a chance.

We were seated promptly with our reservation and experienced exceptional service from the very start. We were welcomed warmly and thanked for our visit right from the start and were even provided with a free appetizer – The Ricconi. They were like friend cheese balls; but so much better. It was off to a great start! We both got salads to start with. I got the Romaine and my partner got the Chopped. Both were good, but the Chopped was different and pretty amazing. It was a bit spicy, but we both loved that. For our meals I got the Bacon Caramelle and my partner got the Rigatoni Al Forno (at the waiter’s recommendation). We both thought the Rigatoni was just average and probably would not get it again. However, the Bacon Caramelle was fantastic. I think the perfect dinner here would be the Ricconi for an appetizer, Chopped Salad, and the Bacon Caramelle for the main dish!

We both enjoyed our dinner at Cucina Pazzo and thought the food was pretty good. However the service in our eyes outshined the food during our visit. Our personal preference for this restaurant group is that The Tavern’s food is better and it also comes with the wonderful service we experienced here as all. With that said, if you are looking to give Cucina Pazzo a try, it’s worth a visit for sure!

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Thank JTF_1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (34)
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30 - 34 of 34 reviews

Reviewed January 29, 2014

I dined here last night with a couple of friends, and we had an outstanding meal. All of our dishes were seafood-based and deliecious. The lobster risotto rivaled that of my all-time favorite, Trattoria Marcella. The potato-encrusted scallops and cioppino were among the best I ever had. And what could possibly be wrong with chocolate nutella souffle for dessert? The wine selection was also very good and reasonably priced.

I have a new favorite Italian restaurant in town!

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Thank RYKan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 13, 2014

We dined as two couples on a Saturday night. The restaurant has been open about two months. The main room includes a wide open inviting bar. The front room is slightly louder because of the bar and entrance area. We were seated in the second half of the restaurant which normally one would think as the "back" room, But this is a spacious well appointed eating area we had 80 great table by the front windows. Service was attempted but not intrusive throughout the night. The server was knowledgeable about all the items and offered several suggestions. The tables are well space and you do not feel on top of adjacent diners. The decor is also warm and inviting without being old-school Italian. However, the noise level likely related to the type of decor and the building is somewhat loud to make conversation little more challenging if one was hard of hearing (which we are not) or you are seated next to a large party.

The food seems to be catching the wave of upscale but not overly traditional Italian that is in many of the new restaurants in St. Louis. Portion sizes and price points were very appropriate although the high-end seafood stew was nearly $36 (That is probably too Hi) otherwise, most items were mid teens to low 20s for entrées. We split the tuna tartare appetizer which had great flavor and was visually appealing but was not served with a crunchy element or cracker for which it would strongly benefit. Each couple split a well portions salad which was not unusual but good. Two diners had pasta dishes which were well executed but not particularly unusual. This is likely related to their choice as opposed to the the other offerings which included more interesting pasta options. Two of us had the short ribs as well as the prosciutto wrapped shrimp. The ribs were very well received. The shrimp had good flavors and an interesting idea although slightly overcooked and slightly unnecessarily spicy sauce even for someone who really enjoy spicy food.

The chocolate mousse dessert was extremely good but quite similar to the sister restaurant, The tavern, cookie in a cast-iron skittle. Both a professional review and the waitress suggested the vanilla crème brûlée. All diners at our table found this very overrated with adequate but not special cookies and the crème brûlée had a slightly gritty texture with not significant flavor.

Overall, this is a great addition to the neighborhood and hopefully it will continue to thrive and refine execution although the whole upscale/casual nouveau Italian scene has a lot of competitors now in St. Louis. We'll be back, it'll be interesting to see how they respond to children as well.

Thank Dan-STL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2013

Cucina Pazzo is a newcomer to the rich CWE restaurant scene, and it is worthy. We have had a dinner and lunch there, and both were very good. The handmade pastas are excellent. (Short rib papardelle was exceptional.) Chopped salad also is very good and the Pazzo burger for lunch (or grinder sandwich) also is very good. Service is excellent. The staff really wants to serve you, and that comes through. It is great fun to sit at the chef's station and watch the action on a busy night. I'm looking forward to working my way through the menu.

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Thank Arthur H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 18, 2013

Cucina Pazzo opened in the former Duff's space on Euclid and had been well received in several local reviews though I am always a bit skeptical for the first few months of a new restaurant. The restaurant is larger than anticipated and consists of three spaces; we were seated in the one furthest from the door. It is nicely decorated but dark in that room with a definite need for some wall sconces; having to use one's phone to read the menu is not good.

We started with the Caprese and Romaine salads, both of which were a nice starter size and delicious. (I think most Americans would deem them much too small a quantity for the price.) Those were followed with Linguini with Shrimp and Clams and the Linguini Alla Carbonara. They were beautifully presented and delicious. The Carbonara was presented with what appeared to be a fried egg on it rather than having the egg mixed in at the last moment to the pasta. This presentation, whilst attractive lends itself to the possibility that the egg will be overcooked and thus not allowing for the rich quality of a runny yolk as was the case with my dish. If the egg is not to be mixed in the pasta before serving, I would suggest a poached egg would be better.

There is a very nice wine selection as well as desserts, which were very good but not stellar. It is nice that I can recommend this restaurant to my gluten free and vegetarian friends and family as there are separate menus available.

Service on a whole was good. Our server was a bit like the Energizer Bunny running amok; she was pleasant to the point of chirpy and seemed to head for a table then do an abrupt turn off on to something else. I noticed that meals for her tables were being brought out by other staff who seemed confused as to where they needed to go. I DO NOT like being asked what I want for dessert whilst I am still not even half way through my main. I realize that table turn-over is a fact of dining life but that feels a bit too pushy. A good espresso is served but the cup just plopped on the table, no saucer, no spoon, no requested sugar. The server was attentive to the fact that we use both knife and fork for the salads and in taking them away with the plates would require new cutlery but it does not need to be announced rather seamlessly and smoothly accomplished and placed in front of the diner in their appropriate places and not at the edge of the table. These types of things are a hallmark of a professional server. That being said the other staff seemed to be eager to fill in and management was on hand to assist. We were followed to the door by management, thanking us for coming...a nice touch.

Cucina Pazzo, pazzo meaning crazy, mad, insane, lunatic, loony, batty etc. we are not sure quite what was intended by the name, however we will return and will recommend it to others.

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Thank VHTA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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