What’s in a name? Pao Town, what exactly does that mean? I was sure Pao wasn’t named after the girl who worked with me a few years back or the term (pao pao) my grandmother used to threaten me with when she was trying to prevent from doing something bad when I was a child. So I had to look it up which means I won’t tell you what it is but at least I made it easier for you by linking the definition. On to the food….
Pao Town is located in the ever growing Coral Gables food scene and can be probably best described as Momofuku-esque. The menu is not very big with 6 mains, a couple of salads, a few “Buns” which include a Pork Bun, 2 hot dogs and some sliders & 5 sides. There was also a special on the board but I don’t recall what it was but be on the lookout for it if you’re a “Specials” kinda person.
I ended up visiting twice within a few days of each other. That first night I chose to go with the Bacon Fried Rice, Sliders w/Togarashi Fries and Sticky Ribs. The second time I went for lunch and had Bacon Fried Rice, Sliders w/Fries and Pao Wings. Now looking back, I’m not sure why I didn’t have the Pork Buns but there’s always next time.
The Bacon Fried Rice was just as you imagined it being. It’s a pretty standard Fried Rice affair with Bacon & Pineapple jonesing for your attention. It’s very important that you get a bit of the Pineapple and/or Bacon in each bite or it won’t be very memorable. There’s some Sriracha at the table and a dash of that doesn’t hurt either.
The Sliders were one of the 2 most memorable things I had at Pao Town. These little fellas are about 4 bite of sheer pleasure. They’re served on Hawaiian Sweet Rolls and topped with Caramelized Onions and Wasabi Ranch. There is no Cheese on these and no need it for it. The Onions and Ranch create this creaminess which is made that much better by the Medium-Rare/Medium cooked patties. The rolls are also lightly buttered on top. Nice touch.
The regular Fries can be upgraded to Togarashi Fries (tossed in Japanese Seven-Spice) with a Wasabi Ketchup. I suggest you do as I tried both and found the spiced up Fries to be more fulfilling than the plain janes.
The Sticky Ribs which are Pork Riblets (tossed in a Black Vinegar & Soy Reduction) were not really my cup of tea. These guys were really dependent on the sauce which was good but maybe a little too much when you’ve got to eat this large of a quantity. But I’m sure the Captain Tso’s Chicken crowd will eat this up.
Did I leave the best for last? It was a definitely a close one between the Pao Wings and the Sliders. On the first visit I took some Wings to go for my wife. I tried one and it packed such a wallop of flavors that I knew I needed a full order for myself. These dudes were no joke. They’re dusted with Cumin & Black Pepper and were just about as crispy as you can get Chicken. There’s a sauce served with it but I preferred it “virgin”. A must order item.
My wife also had the Kalbi Short Ribs and she thought they were great. I’ve now got the Pork Buns, Brussel Sprouts and Egg Roll in my sites for next visit. Let me know how you enjoy the Sliders & Wings.
Once You Go Pao: