When Andrew Casalini and Jen Dactano packed up Satchel's Market, it didn't take long for another pair of restaurateurs to pick up the lease on their former spot in Park Hill.
After years in the catering business, Pam Read partnered up with her cousin, Gary Fink, to turn the space into a New American neighborhood joint that would really attract the neighbors. After a quick makeover — goldenrod walls and a purple back bar — they opened Pary's on 28th in June. At the time, Fink told me that he and Read hoped that the decor and bistro menu — which includes a pork chop, a meatloaf special and Read's take on enchiladas — would combine to give the place a dinner-party vibe. But when I recently stopped by for dinner, there was just one other table occupied — not exactly a lively dinner party.
Still, the staff seemed genuinely pleased to see me, with Read herself leading me to a table before retreating to the kitchen to cook while her one extremely enthusiastic server came over to talk about the menu. Or sort of talk about the menu, citing the ravioli and the duck stroganoff as his favorite dishes without elaborating. I chose the duck. The server then delivered a basket of cold, garlicky focaccia that I would have sworn had come from a commercial bakery had he not told me that Read, who has a baking background, makes it in-house daily. It worked well with the accompanying chimichurri, which was lightly tart, lightly spicy, and heavy on more garlic.
Pary's on 28th
5021 East 28th Avenue
Soon the server returned with my dinner. The tangle of wide, flat housemade egg noodles had been cooked a perfect al dente and bathed in a delicate cream-and-sherry sauce laced with pungent mushrooms. A few chunks of duck confit topped that, but the dish would have been better off without them, since they were slightly mealy and lacking the savoriness I associate with confit. More mushrooms would have sufficed.
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I was eager to sample more of Read's baking, so once my plate was cleared, I asked for the apple crisp. The crumble was warm, buttery, crunchy and laced with cinnamon and sugar, the way it should be. But the apples were so gummy, I wondered if they'd been dehydrated. The best part of the dessert was the scoop of vanilla gelato, which came from the ice cream shop next door.
But these were minor quibbles. My meal had shown me that Read can cook, and Pary's was comfortable enough to invite lingering. The place was what it had set out to be: a good spot to drop into if you lived in the neighborhood and felt too lazy to cook. I wondered why it wasn't busier.
I got my answer with the check: My pedestrian pasta entree and dessert cost a whopping $30. Had I had a glass of wine or two and an appetizer, I could easily have ponied up $50.
This may be a neighborhood joint, but those aren't neighborhood prices. Not for this neighborhood.