[Photograph: Michael Nagrant]

After a reviewing food for a few years I've adopted a few rules to live by, many postulated by others, but definitely confirmed by experience:

  • Never order sushi on Monday.
  • If I'm the only white dude in a Chinese restaurant, I'm probably in a good spot.
  • If a restaurant has a number in its name, it probably sucks.
  • Spectacular views = spectacularly mediocre food.
  • If a restaurant has more flat screens than a Best Buy showroom, they also have food on par with the vending machines near the Best Buy employee break room.

One axiom I've been thinking about adding to the list is that if a restaurant hosts live music regularly, you should order take out or stop for a bite before attending the show.

Because this rule was still in the consideration phase, I checked out Pasha, a restaurant in Chicago's West Loop owned by the popular local world music band, Veerasway and Red Light nearby if things got out of order.

The good news is, while the music and the dance floor got Coyote Ugly-raucous, the food, including some the better paella I've had in Chicago, was pretty good. The one spot where the fireworks of the band matched the explosion on the plate was the chicken chorizo croquetas ($10) On the surface, with a croqueta being a deep fried savory doughnut, you think, what's not to love? However, I've had some pretty gummy overcooked or cold centered reheated croquetas in my day.

The Pasha version oozing with spicy aioli-spiked chorizo and creamy sauced chicken was crisped perfectly. I started throwing fritter after fritter back like movie popcorn, before my wife saved me from myself. Based on this croqueta alone, the live music = bad restaurant rule of eating out has currently been tabled for reconsideration.


802 W Randolph, Chicago, IL 60607
312-243-4442; pasha-bandoleros.com


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