You might think you're lost. Or maybe you think that you wandered onto the set of one of those post-apocalyptic movies. Perhaps it's just signs of the recession that make this hidden enclave of a strip mall just North of Whole Foods seem so desolate. In these strange surrounds you will find Picasso's, one of Jacksonville's oddest restaurants.
Jacksonville's restaurant scene has its share of strange. There's the amazing yet frightening Clark's Fish Camp, a true redneck utopia; the culture shock of Fu Hing Seafood Restaurant; and the highly disorienting atmosphere of Angie's Diner. Picasso's, despite the images conjured up by its namesake, isn't odd in such an overt way but a quick perusal of the menu sheds some light on its uniqueness.
Picasso's is a restaurant without culinary borders where Chicken Parmesan and Chicken Pot Pie sit together on the menu as do Shrimp and Grits and Fish and Chips. There's also three different styles of pizza: St. Louis, New York, and Mediterranean; with almost 60 available toppings. Rather than decide to stick to a particular style of cuisine or dabble in a few creative meals, the minds behind Picasso's have devoted themselves to cooking every meal they've ever enjoyed. This is not a bad thing.
Apparently it gets a bit busy much of the time but we managed to avoid the crowds on our lunch time visit. Unfortunately, we didn't bring much of an appetite with us so the breadth of our experience is lacking. One “Da” House Salad and one Kentucky Hot Brown were our sole items, slight in quantity but more than satisfactory in quality.
Da House Salad (romaine and iceberg lettuce, shaved red onions, pimientos, and artichoke hearts with a special, secret dressing)is delightfully balanced salad. Artichoke hearts are becoming more prevalent in salads these days but often they appear out of place amongst the other flavors; here they blended quite well. Juxtaposing the crisp, healthy salad was the Kentucky Hot Brown: an open faced turkey breast sandwich covered in a cheesy Mornay sauce, topped with applewood-smoked bacon and roasted tomato, sprinkled with paprika and fresh parmigiano-reggiano, and then baked until bubbling hot. Despite intending to order a light meal, I somehow ended up with this decadent mountain of calories and thoroughly enjoyed each deliciously waist-expanding bite.
Picasso's, much like the artist, is an oddity; a gathering place for meals that have no obvious connection. But if our little experience has anything to say, there does seem to be one common thread among them: quality. This is one place that bears repeat visits to get a full experience.
10503 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32257