Grilled seafood at Paggi House

Paggi House Executive Chef Shane Stark holding a plate of just-off-the-grill Texas Gulf shrimp.

Last night I was invited to Paggi House for a preview of Executive Chef Shane Stark’s new patio night dinner series, Grillin’ & Chillin’. The idea is genius: taking advantage of undoubtedly one of the  best patios in the city, chef Shane will step out of the kitchen and fire up the grill instead. Diners can visit with him “grillside” as he prepares three-to-five course seafood-centered menus made with the freshest selection of fish, shrimp, and crab  from Roberto San Miguel of San Miguel Seafood, cold water oysters from the Eastern Seaboard, and seasonal fruits and vegetables sourced by Farm to Table.  Expect cold beer and wine on the warm nights, blankets and heaters on the cold ones. Best of all, these fun affairs will be offered for $25 to $35 per person.

Aside from being massively talented in the kitchen, Shane is an affable, laid-back kind of guy so this is perfectly suited for him. “Our Fall supper club series will celebrate cooler temperatures as the Austin community indulges in local fare,” he says. “We’ll share Gulf seafood at an approachable price and serve it straight off the grill. After weeks of over 100 degree weather, I’m looking forward to kicking back on the patio with the friends of Paggi House.”
Last night started with a cocktail from one of my favorite bar craftsman in town, Jeff Boley. Knowing my predilection for savory and spicy cocktails, he welcomed me up his latest creation, cachaça blended with pineapple juice, a dash of bitters and Sriracha sauce, served up with a salted rim.  I sipped on that while I watched Shane get ready for action. He served us some house-made pickles of carrot, green beans, summer squash, perfectly crunchy okra, and shishito peppers to nibble on. A man after my own heart.

Killer homemade pickles

Next came his new creation, fresh mozzarella grilled over cedar planks topped with marinated grape tomatoes. His inspiration was baked brie, and he was planning on grilling it, but “there are so many great tomatoes right now that I thought why not mozzarella instead,” he told me. It was incredible, just melted enough to smear on crostini, but firm and fresh textured. Hijole!

Next, oysters Rockefeller topped with Absinthe whipped cream, and freshly shucked with mignonette:

Mmmmmmm…..OOOOOOOYSTERS

Noticing the oysters on my plate, the most perceptive and knowledgeable Chris McFall, Paggi’s sommelier, came bearing an offering of 100% mourverdre rose from Bandol.  Sweet nectar!  He also had a nice selection of bubbles, and an Italian chardonnay and malvasia blend.  He also told me that in the afternoon he had tasted wines with Maynard James Kennan. I was sick.

Yes, please

The shrimp were cooked to absolute perfection, sweet and juicy with just the right amount of smoke. Dude…

Next, whole red snappers that must have been swimming that morning, I swear. Just drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper:

Here’s when I quit taking pictures and concentrated on eating.  The fish was incredible, served drizzled with a bit of smoked tomato vinaigrette. There was a grilled ratatouille and herbed potatoes as side dishes. After Shane got comfortable, more things came out of the kitchen and onto the grill: snow crab legs and peaches which he served with homemade ice cream.

Now that you are totally jealous and hungry, grab the phone and make reservations. The series starts on September 15th, and for your further reading, I have included the menus from the press release. Enjoy and see you there!

The Seafood Grill & Chill, September 15th from 6:30 to 9 p.m. will feature Cedar Plank Mozzarella Cheese with Grape Tomatoes; Hawaiian Big Eye Tuna, Gulf Shrimp and Red Snapper; a family Ratatouille recipe, Olathe Sweet Corn or Herbed Bliss Potatoes; and Grilled Peaches served with Buttermilk Ice Cream. Cost is $25 per person. Local brew features will include buckets of Real Ale’s seasonal selection, Fireman’s #4, Full Moon Pale Ale, Rio Blanco Pale Ale, and a selection of Independence’s best brews for an additional cost.

Cocktails & Crustaceans on October 20th, from 6:30pm to 9p.m. Menu will include Shishito Peppers and Prosciutto-wrapped Melon; Texas Gulf Shrimp, Gulf Blue [or Snow] Crab or Lobster Tails; Smoked Bacon Potato Salad, Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Gratin or Brussels Sprouts; Arugula Salad; and individual Apple Tartines, hot off the grill. Cost is $35 per person.

Award winning Paggi mixologist Jeff Boley will shake things up with crustacean pairings including Austin Chronicle’s 2009 #1 pick, the Red Bud ($12) made with Tito’s Vodka and Paggi grown mariachi peppers; the Greenbelt ($8), with Veev Acai Liqueur, fresh grapefruit and agave; the classic French 76 ($8), with Citadelle Gin, St. Germain and bubbly; and the John Daly ($9), with Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, fresh lemon and Topo Chico.

Paggi’s Champagne & Oysters Fest on November 17th, 6:30pm to 9 p.m. The evening’s offerings will include Pickled Vegetables, Pates and terrines; Oyster Stew; Romaine or Sesame Slaw; Oysters Rockefeller or Grilled Oysters with Sherry Vinegar Mignonette, House-made Cocktail Sauce and Champagne Granita; and S’mores. Cost is$35 per person. An enticing selection of sparkling wines and champagnes will be offered at an additional cost.

Space is limited. To reserve your seat for any of the Grillin’ & Chillin’ evenings, call 512.473.3700 or email events@paggihouse.com.

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4 Comments

  1. Me dejaste como perrito de Pavlov! Yo quiero ir! Hay que ponernos de acuerdo, PLEASE! Me gusta mucho el nuevo look de la página… como que más más limpio y el tono de verdecito está chido… frejco! Love ya perrush!

  2. Your culinary description and pictures were outstanding. It looks like this restaurant is a worthy destination–summer, fall or even winter.

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