It’s not like Chris Pandel never had pasta at The Bristol— he had it all the time. But the pasta program at Balena represents a leap in quantity and complexity over a few items on a much larger menu. And overall, Balena’s devotion to traditional, rustic Italian food offers the unmistakable impression that after several years of being a master of whatever he felt like making, Pandel is ready to dig deep into a single style and follow its discipline wherever it leads… with some modern twists. It’s exciting to see one of our top chefs change not only his approach but his philosophy about how he works— but hey, it’s even more exciting to see what you’re going to eat, and that’s what we’re here for now. Our man Huge Galdones was at Balena on their first Friday night, and here are the fantastic pictures of mouthwatering food he brought back.