20 Aug 2014
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Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right?

Our "Readers' Choice" winner gets the "Morristown Munchies" treatment.

Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right? Pazzo Pazzo: Did 'Readers' Choice' Get it Right?

People are passionate about their food. Just ask those who voted our .

Or, ask those who disagreed.

"Disagree completely. Sorry," noted reader Michael Poulo on our Facebook page. "We've banned them for years now, spending our money at other Motown establishments."

"No way, sorry but that's just wrong," reader Amanda Carroll Benjamin added, also on the Facebook page.

And then, there was this simple, one word response on : "Ugh."

Well, with such opinions in opposition to the decision, I knew we had to find out for ourselves.

And, after my inaugural lunch at Pazzo Pazzo I have to say: seriously, what's all the hate about? Maybe dinners are a bit expensive (judging from the menu), maybe the service is a little different when there's a crowd (it was relatively light, and the service was just fine when I went at around 1:30 p.m. on a weekday), but overall, I had a fine meal.

Upon first blush, however, something was immediately apparent: The dining room can really use some spruce. It's not that it's beaten up or ugly or anything like that. It's just kind of ... tired. This restaurant has been around since 1990s, after all, and it appears a renovation has not happened since.

But, the food's the thing. First up was the requisite plate of bread and butter. Served cold, with a pat of butter lovingly-placed beside it, the plate also featured a first for me: A little bowl of olives. That was an excellent, excellent touch. However, they were almost flavorless. Alas.

For starters, I got the minestrone, a classic Italian restaurant staple. Pazzo Pazzo's version was somewhere down the middle from what I've had. , by comparison, had a lot more character than this, but was considerably saltier. Pazzo Pazzo's was good, but nothing I would recommend anyone to dine there for exclusively. 

Where my lunch shined was, thankfully, in the entree. The Pannino con Bistecca–medium rare steak with arugula, carmelized onions and goat cheese–was bursting with flavor. Every item between the bubbly bread served a purpose. The arugula was sharp, the onions sweet, the goat cheese potent and the steak moist and tender. Hey, it was a really, really good sandwich. And, at $12, it wasn't the most expensive lunchtime item I've ever ordered in Morristown.

So, to the haters out there, I have to ask: Why do you hate them so much? I mean, I have my own opinions as far as what the best Italian restaurant is. Full (ish) disclosure: It's not Pazzo Pazzo. But, that does not mean I have such a distaste for them as to totally write them off. Maybe, for those who have, it's time to give this Speedwell Avenue destination another chance.

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