6140 SOM Center Rd. Solon, OH 44139 • (440) 600-2010 • pacostacossolon.com
This just might be the coolest looking restaurant ever to grace the parking lot of a strip mall. The logo is cool. The Day of the Dead décor is cool. The music is cool (if you liked the 90’s). Even the name alone makes me happy. I mean just try saying it with a straight face… I’ll assume you failed.
But Paco is much more than a word play folks. Paco is loco bueno. Starting off with the tableside guac, which is kinda table stakes for Mexican at this point (pun intended), but I do have to say that it was exceptional nonetheless. Good acidity and brightness from the lime. Flavorful heat from the serrano peppers. And the perfect consistency, with just the right amount of texture still left in the smashed avocados. I hate it when they are overly pureed.
The chips, on the other hand, are asi asi (I’m showing off my high school Spanish). Salty and crisp, but a touch too small and brittle-thin. Served warm in a paper bag, which they rip open at your table (nice touch) and accompany them with a rather bland salsa (not-so nice touch).
Getting back on my good side, I found the Spicy Grapefruit Margarita to truly be all that and a bag of chips. Spicy and refreshing at the same time, with the sour citrus from the grapefruit making up for the absence of lemon in a way that, dare I say, almost bested it.
And now for the much-awaited tacos themselves, starting with the blackened shrimp taco, drizzled with a divine avocado crema, then topped with slaw and hot sauce. Not only was it as delicious as it sounds, this interesting and unique preparation proved far more complex than I think some of the Yelpers are giving it credit for, because to my taste, I thought the cream and the heat worked beautifully together.
But better still was the tuna ceviche taco with a refreshing pineapple salsa and alfalfa sprouts, which contrasted perfectly when you added a little hot sauce to it, creating a Battle Royale between spicy hot and cool, but sweet.
The one laggard for me was the salmon taco with peach jalapeno preserves, avocado, slaw and alfalfa sprouts. And while it sounds as good as anything else the fish was over-grilled, drying it out and allowing the grill to overtake the rest of the flavors.
On the whole, I have to give Paco props. For a strip mall in a Cleveland suburb I’d say this is well worth a fiesta.