Overview of Restaurant and concept: From the outside Picasso’s looks to be a pretty typical strip mall Italian joint but inside it’s something entirely different. Chef prepared Italian dishes, unique gourmet pizzas and dry rub wings make Picasso’s not your average Italian place. They have a humongous menu where it’s hard to go wrong. One thing to note before you go is unless to go early or late you should expect to wait. They’re almost always packed.
Food: On this visit we dined with a group of three and shared at least a bite of everything. Even so, we couldn’t even come close to getting a true sampling of this gigantic menu. The first dish of our food adventure was the Crispy risotto bites-Proscuitto di Parma, spinach, Panko breaded. They were crispy on the outside and savory on the inside drizzled in a sauce that tastes fairly close to the shrimp sauce you usually find at Japanese restaurants but slightly thicker . It was a decent starter although next time I’ll look for something tastier.
Next up were the Sweet and Smokey BBQ dry rubbed wings. I normally don’t like Barbecue style wings but my dining guests were adamant these were the best in town. One bite and you’ll see why they love them so much. These aren’t your average wings. Normally wings have a breading on them. Unlike breading which goes all the way around the wing these had a thick crunchy coating that was primarily on top. The wings were tossed in just the right amount of a sticky sweet and smoky sauce. I’d take a trip back to Picasso’s just for the wings. That’s pretty impressive for an Italian place.
Next we tried their Jax cheesesteak($9.25)-shredded ribeye, peppers,onions,mushrooms, and provel cheese on hot garlic roll. The meat was delicious. Provel is a gooey almost buttery cheese that melts easily and is created through a combination of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone cheeses. The blend of rich meaty ribeye and creamy provel cheese was indulgent. This is easily one of the best cheesesteaks in Jacksonville; not that we’re exactly the cheesesteak capital of America.
Slow cooked Pasta and meatballs($15) were next on the list. This was basically spaghetti and meatballs done with fettuccine noodles in a marinara sauce. This dish I’d pass on. The noodles were pretty limp. If there’s such a thing as stale noodles this might be what they’d be like. This dish came with two buttery bread sticks that tasted and looked like it had been rolled in liquid butter and parmesan cheese. The breadstick was pretty good although slightly soggy in texture and taste.
Last up in the line of main courses was a St Louis style pizza. They have 3 pages in a giant menu devoted to pizza options. I have no doubt many of them are delicious. We chose “the gourmet”- pancetta bacon, carmelized onions, Brie cheese, truffle oil. This was the creamiest and probably also the cheesiest pizza I’ve ever had. Provel cheese topped with brie combined with the sweetness of carmelized onions made for a wonderful blend anyone could enjoy. My only minor complaint is it could have used more meat or something salty to complement the flavors. If you just came here for the pizza you wouldn’t be disappointed.
For dessert we tried the Crème Brûlée bread pudding daily special. It was a little more savory than sweet and incredibly tasty. They have different Bread Pudding specials nearly every day.
Service: Our server was great. He seemed very knowledgeable about the menu and was always around when we needed him. Picasso’s was very very busy when we were there and our food took a while to arrive but was worth the wait. One of the managers stopped by to say hello and make sure we enjoyed everything. Every single staff member we ran into was a raving fan of the restaurant and the food at Picasso’s. You know you’re in a good place when everyone working there is that passionate.
When the manager came by he somewhat spontaneously shared with us his top 5 favorite pizzas so we’ve decided to share them with you.
Manager’s 5 favorite pizzas in no particular order:
BBQ chicken pizza- Homemade Italian sausage, roasted fennel, creamed leeks
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Bahama hot mama pizza- Jerk chicken, pineapple, roasted peppers, red onions
“The gourmet” pizza- See review above
“The gift” pizza- Homemade Italian sausage, roasted fennel, creamed leeks
- The St Louis style pizza amazing!
- Dry rubbed wings you don’t wanna miss
- Passionate staff
- Food took too long to arrive
- Pass on the pasta and meatballs
10503 San Jose Blvd
Jacksonville, FL 32257