Valentine’s Day at Pachamama’s in Lawrence, KS

 

I meant to get this review up sooner than today, but it just didn’t happen.  Better late than never, right?

 

Pachamama’s is touted to be one of the very best restaurants in Lawrence, Kansas.  It has been located in two different buildings since it was first opened in 1996.  The first location was a wonderful building on the far west side of town, but because it sat out of the sight of the public (or for some other reason) it was not the most popular restaurant in town.  Since moving to their current location at 800 New Hampshire Street in downtown Lawrence in 2006, their business has flourished.  Whenever Josh and I walk by on our way somewhere else they are always busy.  They also have the Star Bar, which Josh and I have been to a few times before and they make some pretty awesome drinks.  If you’re ever there when it’s cold outside and they’re offering the hot chocolate with the homemade marshmallows, you should definitely order it!  It’s to die for!

 

Unfortunately though, I had never been to Pachamama’s to actually eat.  I’ve heard other people talk about how great it was, but we’ve just never had occasion to actually go there until last Saturday. . . Valentine’s Day. 

 

Josh was completely in charge of determining where we were going to eat and planning the evening, so I didn’t know until Friday night that we would be going to Pachamama’s.  They had designed a set 6 (really 5) course menu for $75 per person with an optional $25 wine pairing.  Josh and I both decided to do the wine pairing and we weren’t disappointed.  I’m slowly becoming acclimated to drinking wine (which I previously thought was pretty disgusting).  The wine pairing on Valentine’s Day was a good way for me to try several different kinds of wine without having to have a whole glass or whole bottle.  Unfortunately, I don’t yet feel comfortable whipping out my camera and doing a photo shoot in the middle of a busy restaurant, but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually. 

 

The menu was as follows:

 

Three Lovely Bites

Crispy Bacon-Oyster Brochette, Tomato Confit, Hollandaise

Smoked Salmon Tartar Lemon, Chives, Fried Fennel

A Slider A La Plancha, Idiazabal Cheese, "Special Sauce"

Juve & Camps Brut Rose Cava N.V.

Porcini Mushroom "Cappuccino"

Wattle seed dusted parmesan-goat cheese foam

Alto Adige Terlaner, Italy

 

Tasmanian Sweet Crab

Avocado, Mango, Beet Green Vinaigrette

2007 Dr. Loosen Riesling, Germany

 

Ginger-Blood Orange Refresher

 

Choice of:

Pan Roasted Barramundi (Josh ordered this one)

Warm shitake-lentil salad, minted sweet pea crush, tangerine-sherry pan sauce

2007 A to Z Pinot Noir, Oregon

or

Seared Hanger Steak (I ordered this one)

Potatoes Aligot, ruby chard, roasted garlic, salsa verde

Colle Dei Venti Barbera d’Alba, Italy

Tres Leche Caramel Soaked Sponge Cake

Whipped cream, espresso ice cream, Irish cream creme anglaise

Chamber’s Muscadelle, Australia

 

My favorites from the menu were the Crispy Bacon-Oyster Brochette, the Porcini Mushroom "Cappuccino", and the Seared Hanger Steak. 

The brochette had just the right amount of crispiness and the oyster was not overpowering.  Besides, everything is better with bacon, right?

If you know me well, you know that I am NOT a mushroom fan by any stretch of the imagination. My real reason for not liking mushrooms is the texture.  I can’t stand the slimy chunky ick that is a mushroom.  This "cappuccino" was blended so well that if you didn’t know better, you would have no idea that it involved mushrooms.  If all mushrooms were prepared like these were, I would eat them all day!

Now, the steak was other-worldly.  There is no other way to describe it than to use the phrase that I used that night.  This steak was "close your eyes and enjoy it" good.  It was cooked exceptionally and just melted in your mouth.  The potatoes and ruby chard matched the steak perfectly.  It is absolutely something that I would go back to Pachamama’s for and it probably wouldn’t matter how much I had to pay for it.

 

All of the other dishes were great as well, but those were the top three for me.  Josh said that he enjoyed my steak more than his barramundi, but the barrramundi was good as well.  All in all, it was an amazing meal and well worth the wait for me.  It’s been open for over 10 years and I have lived in Lawrence through that entire time, but still hadn’t made it in.  I definitely won’t wait that long to visit again.

 

They’ve even got a great Sunday Suppers event that will be going on through at least the end of March, according to their website.  3-course meals for $25 at Pachamama’s. . . who could ask for more???