Jun 4, 2024 - Food and Drink

Bite Club: Cocoa bucatini at now-closed Il Paffuto

A photo of two plates on a wood grain table.

Two dishes I'll never forget from now shuttered Il Paffuto. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

The day after I dined at Il Paffuto in the former Fermenter space, chef Aaron Adams announced he would close the vegan Italian-inspired cafe.

The latest: The shuttering comes only a month after the cafe opened, and Adams is doing it to focus on his growing family and on Astera, the tasting menu restaurant next door.

  • Il Paffuto closed its doors May 31. Adams said in an Instagram post that future plans for the spot "are not fully concrete," but he sees potential for fermentation workshops, pop-ups, and vegan events.

💭 My thought bubble: It may seem silly to review a restaurant you can no longer dine at. But it was so good, I need y'all to sympathize with the loss I am feeling!

🍝 The menu: Focused on seasonal ingredients, the menu was divided into three parts: Primi, secondi and charcuterie.

  • Of course, there was a veggie-heavy focus, featuring a miso focaccia with fermented turnip greens, potato ravioli in a nettle sauce and aged cashew-hazelnut cheese with garlic-confit honey.
  • A friend and I split the zucchini croustade (a flaky pastry-style pie with squash, tomato and ricotta), cocoa bucatini and lion's mane saltimbocca sauteed in sage butter.

🍄‍ The bite: Who knew a chocolate-flavored pasta paired with a spicy red sauce and buckwheat tempeh meatballs would be so delicious? The standout, however, was the koji beet-wrapped saltimbocca with tender, pan-fried mushrooms and polenta.

  • Both were truly decadent dishes rich with texture, creaminess and kick —a hard trio to nail down.

🙏 The bottom line: While Il Paffuto is lost to time, Adam's brilliant, mind-melding cooking can still be found at Astera.

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