Would we go back:
360 St. Peter Street
• Frito Misto (Fried Calamari) $8.25 (shared)
• Rolled Mozzarella Salad $8.25 (shared)
• Seabass Special $22.00
• Chocolate Hazelnut Torte $6.50
We started our night by going to Big Daddy's Kentucky BBQ, but we ended up eating at Pazzaluna. How crazy is that? I heard that Pazzaluna means crazy moon.
We arrived with out a reservation at about 7:30 and they sat us at the bar by the cooks where you can order a full menu and watch the cooking. I wasn't too sure how this would be, but hungary, I was up for it. It turned out just fine. The cooks were entertaining and it was interesting to watch which were the most popularly ordered dishes which from my count was the Bolgonese, Margeheta, three cheese gnocchi and sun dried tomato risotto.
We started out with the fried calamari and shrimp and vegetables. It was the best calamari I have had in this city. We then shared the salad with fresh mozzarella, tomato and roasted red pepper. Another great dish.
I had the special of the night which was the sea bass on broiled polenta in a tomato/caper/artichoke and hearts of palm broth. It was fabulous. It may not have been as good as Steve's ravioli, however. For dessert I had the chocolate hazelnut torte which while good was a bit of a disappointment in comparison with the rest of the meal.
I expected Pazzaluna to be much more snobbier than it was. They seated us enthusiastically without a reservation (most restaurants their caliber would all but laugh you out the door). There was a large mix of people. A table next to where we were seated were a bunch of 50+ people having a contest to see who could stick the most spoons to their face. Overall, however, it was a laid back pleasant atmosphere.
• Lobster and Shrimp Ravioli $24.00
• Ananas Carpaccio $7.00
Imagine leaving for Big Daddy's Barbecue in St. Paul (now closed) and winding up at one of downtown St. Paul's fancy restaurants. We arrived on a Saturday evening at about 7:30 pm on the night of a Minnesota Wild hockey game without reservations. Much to our surprise, the staff was willing to accommodate us on our first visit. At first, the maitre d' suggested that we sit in the bar where we could be served dinner shortly. Then, another employee suggested that there was an opening for two people at the end of the bar overlooking the open kitchen. While we had to sit on bar stools, we enjoyed the view of the chefs working furiously and majestically to serve a full restaurant promptly. We also enjoyed watching the waitresses coo and cuddle the chef's egos as they asked for favors and special requests.
The frito misto, or fried calamari, was an excellent appetizer and the $8.25 price tag would not scare me away. We followed that with a rolled mozzarella salad that was equally exquisite. The lobster and shrimp ravioli was expensive at $24, but the portion, quality, and price of seafood made the dish an excellent value. Not even I could forget the box of leftover ravioli in the car after arriving home: that precious box was safely delivered to the refrigerator. The ananas carpaccio rounded out an excellent meal. I would most certainly go back.
$20 and up
December 2, 2000