Restaurant Review: Pastavino
Even though we are trying to limit ourselves to one food outing a week, we still treated ourselves to a nice Italian restaurant on Pearl Street. We actually tried to get to three other restaurants before landing here–all closed until dinner for some reason. So it was pretty much by accident that we found this lovely Italian place. And we were very happy that we did.
It was beautiful and sunny out–a nice change to the 10 degree weather we’ve been having. We briefly looked at the outside menu before marking their prices reasonable and dishes appetizing. The place was pretty empty, with a big bar in the front and a brick-oven in the back. It was adorned modernly, and the lighting was pleasant as it was coming mostly from the sun outdoors. We were seated at a semi-small table and waited by Isabelle, a nice 20s something girl who deserved a good tip by the end.
(ONTO THE FOOD!) I know, I know, just setting up the scene. So I immediately spot Penne Arrabiata, which is my go-to dish if places have it. It’s a penne pasta with nice hot spicy tomato sauce poured on top. But I also have a craving for cheese…so my eyes hover over the Mozzarella Caprese. Chris decides on another appetizer: antipasto misto (which included a various assortment of cheese, meats, olives, and veggies). So we start by ordering those two appetizers. We throw a loaf of bread in there too to get us started (we are very hungry at this point). Meanwhile, as we are chugging down the water we realize how delicious it is. I know that’s weird to see, but it was so refreshing.
The bread comes, nice and hot. It’s delicious, crispy on the outside, and warm on the inside–with a hint of rosemary. We douse our small plates with oil and vinegar and mop it all up eagerly with the bread. The other appetizers come sometime later, we’re enjoying our time slowly so we don’t really notice, and she brings out the wrong one for Chris (though we share). Chris breaks the news to her and she starts taking it away but Chris asks, “Are you going to throw that out?” She says yes and he asks if there’s any way to avoid that. She let us keep it without charging us for it and brought us our other appetizer. The wrong appetizer was fritto misto by the way, lots of calamari, scallops and such.
It was all as it looks. We ate the caprese so fast that we didn’t snap a shot of it–each part of it (basil, tomato, and mozzarella) was just so fresh. The fritto misto was also delicious, and I got to eat the calamari because they’re wild caught! The antipasta misto was good as well, though I would rate the others higher. We didn’t really like the olives and eggplant of the antipasta misto.
Taking our time, feeling thoroughly relaxed and not so starving anymore, we order our main dishes. Chris gets the Pizza Salametto which is a big pizza with salami, mozzarella cheese, and basil. I, of course, order the Penne Arrabiata, even though, by this point, I’m starting to feel full. Sigh. We snack on what’s left on our appetizers until the main dishes come out. I was happy with my pasta, but it wasn’t anything special. Chris’ pizza, however, was delicious. Although, I was “full,” I kept snagging pieces from his. It was a little oily, and had poor structural integrity, but the taste was there and the ingredients fresh. Chris also got a good deal with the lunch special and got a big thing of Minestrone Soup on the side.
By this point, I am full. Like, feeling a food baby coming on full. I am seated back in my chair, enjoying the tastes while Chris finishes up his soup. Once we slow down, and she notices, she pops over and asks about dessert. I shrug, saying I’m full, and Chris says, might as well look at it. So we do. Aaaaand, we end up getting dessert (of course). Chris spots a fruit tart–Sfogliatina alle Fragole. He had way too much fun trying to say it to the waitress. It comes out and it is a tower of glory. Just look at it.
Despite our being “full,” we finish every last bite. We reasoned afterwards that we were probably not just full, but sometimes you get bored of the same taste. That’s why, we decided, people tend to get dessert even though they’re “stuffed.” So we get the check, taking our time, and give our waitress a nice tip for being so good with not charging us with the wrong appetizer and being great.
Overall, we really liked this place. The only downfall was that the tables were small and they put so much stuff on the table. However, that’s not a big factor at all. The atmosphere was great, beautiful sunlight with calming music served us with a happy mood to go along with our flavorful filling dishes. We would definitely go again to get an enormous amount of food for a good price.