Nicholas O’Connell/ The Mirror
96 Station St., Southport, Conn.
***** out of *****
$$$$ out of $$$$
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday-Saturday 5-10 p.m.
Paci’s architecture and ambiance was the brilliant vision of Italian owner, Bob Patchen. A massive clock is powerfully projected on the wall parallel to the mezzanine level dining area. Eighteen years ago, Paci was the Southport Train Station depot; Patchen bought the building and took out the second floor to open up the space. While the three dining rooms are relatively formal, the bar can be a nice casual spot to eat during the week. The wines Patchen pours by the glass are extraordinary and the prices reflect the quality. Ultimately, Paci is the ideal spot for parents visiting.
Rollatini Di Melanzane: Thin sliced grilled eggplant filled with ricotta, parm and fontina cheeses over prosciutto and marinara sauce. Light and delicate, the ricotta is the primary flavor in the filling.
Insalata Di Tre Colore: Diced granny smith apples, dried cranberries and ricotta salata atop endive, radicchio and arugula with champagne vinaigrette. A crisp, refreshing Italian classic.
Cavatelli with broccoli rabe, house made fennel sausage, garlic and olive oil. The sausage is mildly spicy and perfectly compliments the other ingredients.
Pollo Marsala: Half a chicken marinated with dried chilis, shiitake mushrooms, onions and served with crispy polenta. The presentation of this dish is immaculate. The polenta is buttery and light and the chicken falls off the bone.
Desserts: All desserts are house made and incredible.
Rice Pudding: Vanilla-bean-scented Arborio rice with cinnamon topped with orange slices, toasted almonds and whipped cream. This is hands down the best rice pudding I have had in my life. The fresh orange combined with the crunch of the almonds makes it unique and interesting. The consistency of the rice is in line with the rest of this five-star review.
Ricotta Cheese Cake w/ blueberry sauce: This slice is creamy and lighter than traditional cheesecake. An excellent, fluffy, ricotta-based dessert.
Coconut Cake: Made with fresh coconut, ground almonds and topped with a bittersweet chocolate espresso sauce. The cake is delicate and the rich sauce is a great contrast. It looks as if the cake was dunked in a dark chocolate bath.