Pagu Central Square Cambridge MA

We had the pleasure of eating at Pagu in Central Sq Cambridge last evening. It’s located on Mass Ave just past Main street (heading towards Boston). It’s an Asian influenced small plates restaurant with some Spanish influence as well. Here’s my breakdown:
The Excellent:
Cocktails - a top notch program with interesting flavors. We had 3 different cocktails each, and shared the large format Maitai (made for 2).

Hamachi crudo
Striped bass crudo these were both great, but we liked the saucing on the hamachi the best, and the bass dish had better fish.

Smoky Cheese waffalato this was two small waffles which had smoked mozzarella included in the batter. They were crispy outside, creamy inside, and tasted almost like there was bacon in them from the cheese. I would order these every time I came here.

Imported Jamon Iberico a splurge at the average restaurant price of $30 an ounce, we could have ordered another plate of this. If I ever go to Spain, I’m not sure I’ll eat much more than Iberico ham.

Piquillo peppers These peppers were roasted and served with a red sauce (peppers? tomatoes? not sure, but it was fabulous).

Braised pork belly bao - always a winner

Mushroom Meatballs - a special these were small beef meatballs (cooked medium rare), in a sauce of different types of mushrooms.

Chocolate cake with Szechaun peppercorn ice cream - we ordered it for the ice cream, but the cake was excellent as well.

The good but didn’t quite match the quality of the other items we ordered.
Shrimp in garlic - another special, it was fine, but nothing special

The disappointing
jamon croquettes - our least favorite dish, 3 small croquettes that didn’t taste much of ham or cheese.

They do add a 4% kitchen staff appreciation charge, which I have no issue with. It was just over $300 with tip, but have 2 drinks instead of 4, and no ham, and that drops by $100.


Mouth-watering review, thanks!

The jamon was definitely the standout when we ate there; deep ruby red, with the rich nutty uncutous flavor lingering on the palate. It was some of the better jamon I’ve had outside of Spain. The sashimi dishes that we tried were all enjoyable. We found the rest of the items we tried to be pretty meh. Overall it goes on the long list of recently opened, overpriced restaurants for me. I would like to go back for a double helping of that jamon though.

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You should make it a point to go. It is a relatively quick and easy trip from Boston with direct flights and other low cost connecting options. Once you are there the costs are much more reasonable than in some other parts of Europe. The people are friendly and the food and drink are absolutely wonderful. We’ve still got young children (human anchors) to contend with, and did a quick 5 night trip without them recently. Great country!

It’s on our short list for sure. A friend was just there and was gushing about how much fun he had.

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Awesome report, kimfair1. Relly fun to read and thanks for the detailed descriptions. It sounds worth checking out!

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We made our first visit a week ago Friday. We also enjoyed the cocktail program, including some funky glassware (more like a pitcher) that apparently is common in Barcelona. We found the striped bass sashimi much more enjoyable than the hamachi, both because of the quality of the fish and the sauce on the bass seemed a better complement. We concur on the jamon, a worthwhile splurge. We fondly remember the shops in Barcelona featuring 20 or more different varieties of jamon. Both bao we had were fabulous, with a slight nod to the pork belly. Fried rice with Taiwanese sausage was a hit with my SO, though I found it a bit dry. The famous ramen didn’t seem so special - perhaps because it was well before midnight. Hands-down highlight of the meal was the black cod. It had the rich mouth feel of Chilean sea bass but slightly lighter. Surprisingly the sound level was manageable on Friday night, allowing our group of 6 to comfortably converse.

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Making noodles. Phongdien Town, Cantho City, Southern Vietnam.
Credit: CiaoHo