Pa’La in downtown Phoenix is ​​open. What to order on the new lunch menu

Pa’la in downtown Phoenix is ​​hard to believe. The more I try, the more my thoughts return to that perfect shrimp.

Pink and shiny and plump, the beauty of the Sea of ​​Cortez snapped as you dug into its meaty flesh and peeled the tail off with little to no effort. It was a jaw-dropping bite which is pretty awesome considering the prawns were just one ingredient in a salad. And not even in one of these Navarro grain bowls is the original location of the gourmet restaurant Phoenix known. These aren’t on the menu here – but you’ll find a lovely wood-fired pizza here.

But let’s keep our focus on the shrimp because they tell you so much about what’s going on in this new room. Pa’la’s second location in downtown Phoenix is ​​a departure from the casual, homely feel of the original.

How the second place differs from the original

Pa’la, the popular restaurant in the center of Phoenix, is known for its top-class tapas plates and upscale Italian dishes, which are served over the counter in non-returnable plates.

For his second company, the accomplished chef Claudio Urciuoli is returning to a more traditional format for a gourmet restaurant. With two different floors, the room has a heavily industrial look that feels slightly out of place with its entertaining cocktail menu and eclectic fusion cuisine. Not to mention that there are real plates out there and it’s now full service. The staff is incredibly warm and knows their way around the constantly changing menu.

For this ambitious endeavor, he hired Scottsdale Chef Jason Alford to manage the kitchen. Alford worked for ten years at the London-based Japanese steakhouse chain Roka Akor, where he cooked meat skewers over an open robata grill. (He plans to bring a robata grill to Pa’La in the future too.)

Here’s what to expect on the downtown Pa’la menu

The menu at the new Pa’La has a distinct Japanese aesthetic, with an emphasis on thoughtful seafood that is both cooked and cooked raw in sashimi-like raw foods.

Prawns, boquerones and obscure fish like sea bream dominated the menu of the day and appeared on almost every dish except the two pizzas. A tapas plate with lightly seared tuna from the Pacific Albacore was dusted with a Japanese togarashi pepper mixture and combined with a classic Italian salad made from eggplant peperonata. It was a strange combination for the fatty tuna, but it worked. Another dish of roasted squid with French olives and capers was rounded off with fresh yuzu juice.

And then there was my favorite, the shrimp mentioned above, propped up in a light spring salad with shaved fennel and radishes and spunky peas. A touch more of this forum cabernet vinegar might have benefited as some of the dishes seemed to call for acid. But you have to applaud the duo’s dedication to fine produce, right down to the specialty soy sauces and extra virgin olive oil.

Urciuoli is also particularly interested in its pizza, which is fermented cold for 48 hours before being lit in the impressive Neapolitan wood-burning oven in the back of the restaurant.

Pa’La makes a few different pizzas every day. During our visit there was a riff about pizza margherita with oregano and another with toasted shiitake mushrooms, mozzarella and Fra ‘Mani salami cut into thick rounds almost like hot peppers. The crust was masterful, an uneven barrage of bubbles and burn marks covered in a thick bed of melted cheese.

With everything going on here, it’s nice to know that during lunch you can still stop by and get a pizza. What a perfect idea.

Pa’la Downtown Phoenix

Where: 132 E. Washington St., Phoenix

hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner from Friday to Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. from June 4th.

price: Tapas $ 6- $ 12, salads $ 14- $ 17, pizzas $ 12- $ 13, starters $ 18

details: 602-368-3052,

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