Pagu

Last week, I met an old friend for dinner (who shall remain nameless – he’s a chef at a trendy Boston restaurant). He mentioned he’d been hearing great things about Pagu, a Japanese-Spanish fusion restaurant in Central square, around the culinary scene. I’d snagged a fresh paycheck earlier that morning and felt like treating myself, so we checked it out.

I didn’t know this at the time, but Pagu has some serious pedigree. The head chef, Tracy Chang, grew up working at a Japanese restaurant and has since worked at both the fanciest sushi places in Boston and a 3-michelin-star restaurant in Spain. So while the fusion concept might be surprising, it’s actually incredibly natural.

The vibe at Pagu is what most restaurants strive for – elegant and minimalist, warmly lit, a bunch of modern but casual tables with a view of the kitchen. Everyone on staff was really young and friendly. A homey environment, great for small plates and sharing, which is great for a taste addict like me.

First bite: Shishito peppers

07E45C9E-A494-4EE8-AF17-916F4AD44287

They look ugly and withered, but I think that’s exactly what we wanted – charred and dusted in spicy togarashi, really juicy but still with a nice crunch to them. An awesome, flavorful start.

Best bite: Roasted cornish game hen, stuffed with sticky-fried rice

2EF59956-AB09-4683-9B93-6DFADC98D851

The photo sadly can’t do this justice; this hen was exquisitely roasted, golden-brown and crispy and exploding with sticky rice. The meat was really unbelievably delicate, savory and steamy. The fried rice was delicious and the peas and carrots lent it a really nice sweetness. This was a meal for a king.

Also tried:

Squid ink Oyster Bao

9404C24B-7B27-4ADA-9F0F-3D9FBA0F9A40

Bao is Pagu’s specialty, and it’s easy to understand why; I was pretty curious about the complicated flavors – he menu listed shiso, norioli, panko oyster, squid ink and purple cabbage, and I don’t know what most of those things are. But it couldn’t have balanced better – the bun in particular was flawless, dark and sweet and made with rye flour (I think).

Ham and arbequina cheese croquetas

4388B59C-0C78-4248-9D79-E5CA2BE4C09C

The croquetas were only average, but croquetas have never once been bad – they are fried ham and cheese balls. A nice appetizer.

Dessert – Japanese cheesecake with cured peach and matcha ice cream

6A3F2763-AB9C-431F-B2DD-2FF0AFD2F13C

This cheesecake itself wasn’t very good, honestly – we didn’t even finish it. But the peach was really flavorful, and drowned in this unbelievable matcha ice cream, anything could have tasted good.

Pagu also has a massive tea selection – I chose a buckwheat tea that tasted warm and buttery; apparently it’s what the Japanese give their children after a big meal. I’m not complaining if I get to like this.

TL;DR: Japanese-Spanish fusion – as creative (and tasty) as you’d hope.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s