This eggplant parmigiana was on the daily ''specials'' list for $10. (Ken Stickney / American Press)
Exposed brick walls and hanging ferns greet visitors as they enter the outdoor dining area at Pujo St. Cafe. (Ken Stickney / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, August 17, 2012 6:50 PM
Because special occasions call for special venues, we nixed the burger and rib shacks last week and headed downtown. Pujo’s was calling.
Pujo St. Cafe lends cozy elegance to lunch — this was a going-away gathering — and in the midday heat we bypassed the patio dining and opted for an indoor table under a lazy ceiling fan. Linen table cloths. Linen napkins. Nice choice.
This restaurant is located in a late 19th century building that formerly served as a drugstore, department store and insurance agency. Remodeled for restaurant use in the late 1990s, it features exposed brick and tin ceiling, cypress mantelpiece and oak furniture. Our surroundings were comfortable and cool on this humid summer scorcher.
But the draw at Pujo’s is the food, and the food was worth the trip. Two of us ordered the eggplant parmigiana — it was on the daily “specials” list for $10 — and the third ordered the vegetable patty burger. By our count, the cook was 3-for-3, every plate a hit.
Frank found the spice “just right, not overwhelming,” in the parmigiana. He preferred the light breading and was pleased with the large portions. Angel hair pasta and a sweet sauce accompanied the main attraction. I also opted for the eggplant parm, found it delicious and was pleased with the quick and attentive service.
Bobby chose the sandwich, testimony to his recent turn to healthy eating. He said the sandwich was flavorful with good texture, the lettuce was crisp and he enjoyed three tomato slices atop the burger.
He left the table full, yet “without an ounce of guilt.” Top that.
Lunch entrees range from Tuscan chicken for $11.50 to $20 for grilled salmon. Sandwiches range from the chicken caesar wrap for $8.50 to $11.25 for the oyster po-boy. Salads range from $8.50 for the house version to $14 for the tenderloin, with other “salad topper” options available.
We were water drinkers only, and bypassed the dessert. That kept our bill to $32.16, a pleasant surprise to the man who put down his Mastercard.
Pujo’s was quick and pleasing on this lunch occasion. It will be next time, too, we would bet.