3 Things I Learned in 3 Visits to Paloma

Third time’s a charm? Well…

Reviewing a restaurant THREE TIMES is not something I ever do, but what the hell, there’s a first time for everything, right? And this time I just can’t help it, I find Paloma interesting. Its average for the most part, it has been (at least for me once) excellent, and its inconsistencies keep me coming back just to see if they’ve figured it all out. If you read (of course you do), you know that my first visit was just OK and mostly filled with a couple misses, a few hits and a seasoning issue or two. On visit numero dos, Aarón Sánchez cooked for me…It was spectacular. Third visit, minus Aaron? It resembled visit number one.
As a break from the usual I came up with three things about Paloma that I have come to expect, and what you are likely in store for when and if you go.
Uno: The Food is Inconsistent

If there’s a knock on Paloma, this is it. My first visit with a big group of friends was a very average experience that included lots of seasoning issues and a few dishes that just did not work. Visit two stemmed from Chef Aarón reading my review. He cooked that night, it was damn good with zero issues. The third visit with a bunch of blogger buddies was more like visit number one; average. There were hits like the tender short rib that did need help from the gravy to ease the dryness, even still, I can get past that. One major miss was the lobster ceviche that was not only tough but it was drowned in juice. The disappointing part of the ceviche was that I’ve had it before and it was less fruit-juicy and the lobster meat was spot-on.

Albondigas (meatballs, chipotle broth, mint, cotija) are always good. Different from the typical meatball, slightly spicy, the mint really pops through.

Tai Tiradito (left), Ceviche (top right), Queso Fundido (bottom right)

Lobster Ceviche, pretty, not executed as well this time around.
Street corn is a massive YES.

  Conclusion: It’ll be good…sometimes, and really good when Chef Aarón is there.

Roast chicken, tamarind chicken fried rice, pickled salad. Points for the crispy skin and juiciness, wasn’t into the sauce as much.

Mmm…Short ribs.

Garganelli Pasta that just didn’t work for most of us. The crumbled chorizo was good, I’m just not sold on a Mexican pasta dish.

Shrimps! Suck da heads tho?

I’ve learned that with the exception of one Latin inspired pasta dish (not sure it should even be a thing) and the jumbo shrimp dish everyone said was chewy (the broth was deliciously flavorful and spicy), that the entrées are typically worth it. The small plates like the Mexican street corn (chipotle crema, cotija, fresh herbs) and the Queso Fundido (huitlacoche, wild mushrooms) are both guilty pleasures now. Serve me up some corn and baked cheese & chips with a beer and just leave me alone.

Just to reiterate…INCONSISTENT. OK? Got it?

Dos: Go For the Ambiance + The Booze

Paloma was the whole location thing on lock. It’s the old Beer Garden spot. If you knew that and you haven’t been living in a panic room or bomb shelter for the past few years, congrats on being so up on stuff! Seriously though, Paloma is right on the water, it has an upper deck that gives you a higher vantage point, a lower patio area that is also smack-dab in the thick of the awesome scenery. What scenery, you ask? Water, superb sunsets (if you’re lucky and weather cooperates), a pier/boardwalk-ish thingamajig with the American and Connecticut flags (reppin’ with that patriotism), and yachts that most of us can’t afford. We can dream though, right?

The drinks, also good. Paloma’s Bees + Honey drink is one of my go-to cocktails in Fairfield County. It goes down easy but don’t get too carried away, the booze (El Buho Mezcal & Maker’s Mark) is masked well by the combo of raw honey, lemon, ginger, & turmeric nectar. Their take on a Hemingway (lime and ruby red grapefruit, maraschino liqueur, Tapatio Anejo Tequila and Atlantico Reserve Rum) is something I loved on my second visit and still love now, and they make a strong and refreshingly minty mojito that’s also worth going for.

What am I getting at? Get some hooch and enjoy the view if nothing else.

Tres: The Desserts Are Shockingly Great

Most restaurants slack on their dessert game, Paloma has never disappointed me in that area. Listen, I’m not a huge dessert guy but if you have mad dessert game, I will become a dessert guy. If you only try one sugary treat here, make it the “Churros.” I put THAT word in quotes because Paloma’s “Churros” are more like donuts but that’s not a bad thing, it’s a very great thing. Warm, slightly dense, filled with Dulce de leche, rolled in cinnamon sugar. I want these every morning for breakfast with a strong cup of coffee. That combo of sugar and caffeine would make me act like Twitchy from “Hoodwinked!” but I’d risk the jitters. Another great one is Paloma’s deconstructed (and really creamy) cheesecake in a jar with salted caramel, crumble, cream, and a cherry chunk cookie. This dessert wins by mixing soft and crunchy textures with sweet and salty elements.

Not a dessert person? Become one. At least here anyway.

Final words…
That’s a wrap for Paloma in terms of reviewing. I’ll go back in hopes they achieve consistency, I’ll go back for drinks and the nice scenery, I’ll damn sure go back for more churro donuts 😛
Paloma
15 Harbor Point Road
Stamford, CT 06902
(203) 998-7500

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks, been thinking of visiting Paloma…..looking like I'll be starting with dessert!

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  2. Cecilia says:

    Haven't been there yet. Thanks for the tips and warning! Love that you gave it three chances…and possibly a fourth? I'll wait for the post on that.

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  3. And there's nothing wrong with that! 😉

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  4. I think my Paloma reviewing days are over. Should they have a special event and have me in for that (if I'm not banned) then I'd gladly recap. I want to love this place but it has never really lived up to expectations. It's close but the food needs to reach some level of consistency.

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