Friends of ours had enjoyed dinner at Pao last week so much that they suggested we return there with them. Located right off of the West Side Highway, in the western part of SoHo, Pao is a warm and lovely, even romantic find. The small room, with a prominent bar at front, is rustic yet inviting. The menu is large enough for choice without being overwhelming. The cuisine is Portuguese, but with inventive twists. We ordered a variety of things, so there was much to comment on. We started with the octopus, scallops, cod cakes and . I enjoyed the scallops and cod cakes. Cod, a Portuguese specialty, were crisp outside, tender inside. The scallops were featured with a Tomato Compote with Port Wine Syrup. We also had the Linguica, a typical sausage, grilled right at the table. Our entrees were very tasty as well. Tiger Shrimp with a seafood "pudding" [like stuffing], Rabbit in a rich dark sauce with hazelnuts, a cod ,and a lamb shank special. We finished the meal with the chocolate salami, which is a pate of chocolate and crushed cookies, a rich poundcake with custard and dense chocolate mousse studded with tiny chocolate bits. Their house wines, a red and a "green" wine were an appropriate match. The green wine is an interesting, refreshing, slightly sparkling drink. All in all, we enjoyed a nice hearty meal perfect for a cold night.
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