BITE-SIZED

Straight Out of St. Louis

Hometown favorites star on a diverse menu at Picasso's in Mandarin

The two owners create specialties they're craving from their hometown of St. Louis, like toasted ravioli, which are hard to find elsewhere in town.
Caron Streibich
The trademark St. Louis-style pizza is perfectly crisp and thin, and served cut into small squares instead of large slices.
Caron Streibich
Bright Pablo Picasso prints hang throughout the dining room and restrooms, adding bursts of color.
Caron Streibich
The korubuta pork belly ramen bowl was bursting color, texture and flavor. And the portion was generous.
Caron Streibich
The hearts of palm frites with a thick, creamy garlicky aioli were featured on the specials board. They were a unique way to start the meal and had a lot of flavor.
Caron Streibich
Save room for orange crunch cake, available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It has layers of orangey goodness with an unexpected but welcomed crunch factor.
Caron Streibich
Upon entering, review the daily specials; they change often.
Caron Streibich
Though the spot isn't huge, there's ample seating inside and a handful of tables outside.
Caron Streibich
With bright colors and fun artwork, the atmosphere at Picasso’s is relaxed and fun.
Caron Streibich
Picasso’s is tucked behind a Walgreens off San Jose Boulevard in a small shopping center. Type the address in your GPS before heading out; you can’t see the restaurant from the main road.
Caron Streibich
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Posted

10503 San Jose Blvd., Ste. 207, Mandarin

880-0811

a href="http://jaxpicassos.com/" target="_blank">jaxpicassos.com

Caron Streibich covers dining out throughout Northeast Florida. If you have information about new restaurant openings, menu changes or other food-related news, contact her here. Streibich is also the host of our regular Folio Weekly Bite Club gatherings. Follow the Bite Club on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about it.

Tired of yearning for some of their favorite foods from their hometown of St. Louis, Chris Evans and Don Brindley created Picasso's to offer specialties from the Gateway to the West, like warm, toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake and square-cut, thin-crust
St. Louis-style pizza.

Chef Evans grew up in St. Louis and brings his favorite hard-to-find items to Jacksonville while his pastry-chef mother whips up the post-meal treats. (Don't miss the orange crunch cake available Tuesdays and Thursdays or the sinfully good gooey butter cake.)

To start, I ordered the hearts of palm frites and the meat-filled St. Louis toasted ravioli with homemade marinara. The fry-shaped hearts of palm were served with a thick roasted garlic aioli and sprinkle of parsley — yum! The pile of warm ravioli was perfectly toasted and seasoned, then covered in freshly grated parmesan cheese. The accompanying marinara was pleasantly simple and
fresh-tasting.

Although St. Louis and New York style pizzas are on the menu, the St. Louis, with cracker-thin crust and crisp edges, is a must. After devouring my first few bites topped with pancetta bacon and pepperoni discs, I put Picasso's pie on my coveted "best pizzas in town" list.

While the menu is expansive, I'd heard that the ramen noodle bowls are legit. I know what you're thinking: ramen — at a pizza place? Trust me; Picasso's has much more than pizza. The korubuta pork belly ramen bowl overflowed with color, flavor and texture: tangled noodles, savory broth, flavorful cooked mushrooms and broccoli, soft-boiled egg and crisp pickled cabbage in one bowl.

Stuffed but not stopping, I managed a few forkfuls (breakfast tomorrow?) of orange crunch cake. Again, points for uniqueness: Layers of moist, rich cake met thick swirls of orange icing and thin layers of crushed, crunchy wafers for a winning dessert experience.

The interior is open and clear, with replicas of bright Pablo Picasso paintings on the walls. In its current location since 2008, Picasso's is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. It fills up quickly — the word's out on the great fare. 

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