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I didn't think there was room for my love of tapas to grow until I dined at Pagu. A melding of Spanish-style small plates with Japanese delicacies, this Cambridge spot is an exciting place to chow down. Chef Tracy Chang of O Ya and Guchi Midnight Ramen opened her own venue and named it after the Pug breed of man's best friend (pagu means pug in Japanese). She spent time at the 3-Michelin starred Martin Berasategui in Spain so she has plenty of inspiration to draw on for the Spanish plates. Read on to see the unique and scrumptious dishes we dined on!
Pagu is a large venue, great for groups and special events yet intimate ambiance for any date night as well. Walking in, you'll find a bar on your left, chefs counter at the back, and plenty of tables and common dining space to the right. We sat at the chef's table and got to witness the excitement and bustle of the kitchen.
Loved the tea presentation - see the subtle pug?
Kampachi sashimi with aged shoyu, garlic, lime, and thai chili. Crudo and sashimi plates are always my favorite since they're incredibly fresh, and this was no exception. I'm not good with spicy things so don't worry, this one had a slight kick but isn't too strong.
The Jamon Iberico de Bellota is a must-try plate! It's a 36 month aged acorn-fed Spanish ham that melts in your mouth. I'm not even the biggest ham fan, but I couldn't stop thinking about this dish even days after!
I almost always order kale salad when I see it on the menu, and I love to compare them. This one is so unique it sets itself apart from the rest. with roasted red bell peppers, marcona almonds and avocado, it's a lovely smooth take on a kale salad - and so packed with those healthy omega-3s!
I want this for breakfast every day. The Tortilla Espanola is made with corn tortillas so it's gluten free, with organic eggs, potatoes, and arbequina. It's the ultimate comfort food!
Always impressed by restaurants that have gluten-free options! This Uni Miso Mazemen has Maine uni, shiro miso, and nori with gluten free noodles. Uni is always such a funny texture for me, but I still love trying it. The noodles and sauce here were buttery perfection.
How cool are these black squid ink oyster baos?? With norioli, shiso, fried oysters and purple cabbage, they may not be gluten-free but they look too cool for school.
For dessert, I went with the Black Sesame Tofu which came in such a neat presentation. With hojicha syrup, tofu foam, and sesame tuille this dish was a frenzy of earthy flavors and fun textures, from light, bubbly foam to smooth syrup.
When the waitress asked us which plate was our favorite, we ended up listing almost every plate. Including this actual plate with an adorable pug face on it. I definitely recommend Pagu for anyone in the Boston area. If you like Spanish tapas, Japanese food, and cool ambiance, you'll love it here. Our waitress was the nicest and Chef Tracy Chang even came over a couple times to say hello! It's such a unique dining experience and very well-executed. They even give you complimentary mandarin oranges to take home as you're leaving, so fun!
Comment Challenge: Would you try Japanese Tapas?