Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
We wrote about aguachile in the not-so-distant past as part of our epic chile feature and it has since occupied a small but important corner of our collective heart. As a way to show off the delicate sweetness of lightly cured seafood—and bracket it with complementary flavors—it’s as classy as it is tasteful. It’s also not found in all that many places, meaning that it was fun to stumble upon it on the menu of Pajarito, a relatively new Mexican restaurant on West Seventh Street in St. Paul that has become a neighborhood favorite.
Pajarito’s twist on the dish is to simplify it quite a bit, revolving it around thin slices of lightly cured scallops swimming in an herbed oil dressing accompanied by spheres of melon and cucumber. It lacks the heat that most versions of the dish bring to the table, and instead presents a cool, calm serenity that matches the loveliness of its plating. It’s a light lunch, but there are days when that’s just what the doctor ordered. And for the other days, there’s always the queso fundido.
THE DISH: Scallop Aguachile, $16
THE PLACE: Pajarito, 605 7th Street West, St. Paul
THE REASON: The combination of elegant presentation and bright, clean flavors make it a light, pleasing dish