Monday, July 23, 2007

Cornish Pasty Co - Tempe

One of the more unusual restaurants in the Valley is the Cornish Pasty Company. Currently a single location on the NE corner of Hardy and University, it's primary dish is the pasty, pronounced "pass-tee". A pasty is a pocket pie that resembles a calzone. It originated as an easy meal for miners in Cornwall to bring with them. One end would have meat, the other would have some type of a dessert. The thick crust let them eat it without utensils and protect the food from the toxic chemicals they dealt with in the mines and covered their fingers. Eat most of it and discard the small piece you held with your fingers, and all was well.

Cornish Pasty Co. has a fairly simple menu. Three pages of pasties, some salads, three or four sides, and some dessert pasties. In addition, they have a fairly good and diverse selection of import beer.

The space itself is very long and narrow, somehow fitting for a dish that originated in a mine. Along the right side are mostly two-tops with a few seats at a small ledge. I don't remember that from my first visit. At the very back of the restaurant is a triangle-shaped three-top and in the far corner is a long table that will seat eight. Along the left side is a long bar with stools and clips for purses to hang.

We entered and there were maybe seven customers. A couple was sitting at one of the two-tops and another was in the very back at the big table. Three people were seated at the long bar. We too the triangle table so we'd have a bit more room, as the two-tops are very narrow and butted right up to the wall. Menus are on the table, so we each grabbed one and looked over the selection.

The pasty selection is vast. It ranges from the traditional sausage, mashed potatoes, and rutabega pasty to more exotic ones with chicken tikka masala or carne adovada, and plenty in between. They also have nearly a full page of Vegetarian pasties as well. I tried the tikka masala on our first visit while Tara had the Shepard's Pie. I liked mine but hers had no flavor, so she wasn't very inclined to make a return visit. This time she decided to get the Royale with Cheese, basically a cheeseburger with bacon and onions inside a pasty crust. She got it with a side of ketchup. I went with the Carne Adovada, pork marinated in a New Mexico chile stew, onions, Hatch green peppers, and rice. It came with sides of sour cream and salsa.

We waited a few minutes and a waitress finally came by to take our drink orders. We both got water with lemon. After she came back, we ordered our meal.

The pastys are premade, but frozen, so it takes about 20-25 minutes for them to cook. They are also availabe to buy frozen and take to cook at home.

After the wait, our pasties arrived. Unlike our first visit, where they were served on parchment paper with no utensils, they now serve them cut in half on an oval metal plate with metal forks and knives. They arrived at the table HOT. I cut one half of mine into small pieces so it would cool faster. Tara has a much higher heat tolerance than me, so she tried her almost at once.

She really liked it this time. She said there was very good flavor and it was almost like a cheeseburger. The crust was golden brown, crusty, and flaky.

Mine also had a great looking crust. Perfectly cooked, flaky, crusty, and not at all doughy. I'd love to just have an empty crusty to try. My Carne Adovada was really good. It had a definite spiciness from the chiles. Not too bad, but hot enough that my eyes started to sweat. The meat was very tender and with a little dollop of sour cream, tasted wonderful. It was like a chimichanga with a flaky crust. I loved it. Probably not anywhere near authentic, but the flavor is what matters, and I enjoyed it. For authentic Mexican, Rosita's is three doors down.

We both cleaned our plates and waited for the check. We've noticed on both occasions that service is somewhat slow. Even with almost no customers, they take their time. Eventually our waitress came by and we got the check. The total was $14.50 with tax. The pasties are pretty good sized, so this is a pretty good deal. Tara is willing to go back now that she knows there's something she enjoys. CPC is definitely an interesting place and worth trying once or twice. The broad range of fillings should make it easy to find something you will like.

1 comment:

silverbear said...

CPC also has a nice beer selection. Unfortunately, I seldom get to enjoy it since I'm usually at CPC for a workday lunch.