Simple, Fresh and Delicious on Thayer

One restaurant opening I missed a few months back was Coco Pazzo (165 Angell St.) – probably because I try to avoid Thayer Street while school is still in session. However, now that the college …

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One restaurant opening I missed a few months back was Coco Pazzo (165 Angell St.) – probably because I try to avoid Thayer Street while school is still in session. However, now that the college crowds are gone, I recently spent a sunny Friday afternoon enjoying a leisurely lunch there and I’m glad I finally stopped in. The menu is eclectic, but mostly centered around modern Italian fare, with lots of easy-to-share plates like appetizers, tapas and pizzas. It’s the kind of casual, European style dining that relies on simple, fresh preparations that let the ingredients shine through. We sampled several small plates perfect for eating al fresco: a Prosciutto and Burrata Board; Grilled Long Stem Artichokes with Olive Salad and Pesto Crostini; Roasted Beets, Goat Cheese and Watercress with Beet Vinaigrette; Wild Roasted Mushrooms; and Seasonal Vegetable Pizza with spicy tomato puree from the restaurant’s wood fired oven. It’s always refreshing to see a restaurant that respects its vegetables instead of treating them as mere accompaniment to meat and pasta, and the artichokes, mushrooms and beet salad really stood out here. I look forward to going back and trying some things I missed the first time around – in particular the Cantaloupe, Prosciutto and Burrata Salad with Ice Wine Vinaigrette and the Branzino in Cartocio steamed in foil.