I really want this place to be good. Cute little Italian place only five minutes from home. As much as people disagree with me, I enjoyed Milano’s - the previous restaurant in this location. Not everything was wonderful, but I thought they had great crab cakes, french onion soup, pizza, and more. I thought Pasticcio’s menu was much better, though. Lots of great appetizers, chicken and veal selections, and lots of pasta options -- they even have wheat pasta and a “Healthy Options” portion of the menu. (I, of course, decided against choosing something from that section. If you’re going out to eat, splurge, you can cook healthy stuff at home!)
Let’s get to the good stuff -- Bucky and I were seated right away (probably because there was only one other table seated) and our waitress--who also was the hostess for the evening-- came over promptly to take our drink order. After looking at the menu, I knew I wanted the Linguini with Clams because I had heard good things about it. Bucky opted for the Baked Lasagna with ground beef. I also noticed they had mussels on the menu, however, they only had listed mussels in a red sauce, and we both like white. So, I asked the girl if they could make them in a white-wine sauce instead, and when she confirmed that they could, we opted for those to start off.
We received our bread basket, which was not much more than 3 or 4 breadsticks the size of my thumb. Not awful, but I was always taught the sign of a good restaurant, is good bread. In such an Italian-feeling atmosphere, I wanted warm, crusty, seasoned bread. Oh well, no big deal. A few minutes later, our mussels came out. They were served on a flat plate, which looked like a bread plate, just a tad bigger. The sauce was highly disappointing. It seemed as though the chef had put olive oil and parsley in a saute pan, and that’s how the mussels were made. It had no velvety appeal, like you get from deglazing with butter, no red pepper flakes to offer that last kick, and not even any lemon flavor, which, in conjunction with the white wine (that also seemed to be missing), is always my favorite part!
So, after finishing off the mussels, our food came out shortly after. My dish looked really great! Besides the extreme excess of parsley garnished around the plate, on the plate, under the plate, etc. I had about 10 or 12 top neck clams scattered throughout my plate of linguini. The white-wine sauce was exactly the same sauce as was on the mussels. Bland, not much going on. When I asked Bucky how his Lasagna was, his response was, “really, really salty.” If anyone knows Bucky, he would put salt on capers, or anchovies, if he liked them. Point is, he’s crazy about salt. It goes on all my dinners, even if I have already put it on there for him. If there’s a dish that is too salty for Bucky, it has to be unbearable for other diners. I didn’t actually try it, but I’ll take his word for it. The lasagna was also served in a medium-sized ramekin-type dish, so it wasn’t really a nice portion size, either.
Let me say this. Dinner wasn’t awful. Nothing was so gross (for lack of a better word) that I couldn’t eat it. But nothing was spectacular. I will say, I have been there once before, and I really enjoyed my pasta dish (angel hair pasta with an array of vegetables in a vodka sauce). I am hoping, maybe the chef was in a crappy mood, or he was having an off day. I’ll definitely be back to this place, I’ll just know what --or what not -- to get the next time around!
★ ★ ✩ ✩ ✩