Food Review: Pastabilities (x2)

Hello everyone! Since this is the last post of 2012, I decided I would do something new.  Chris and I ate at Pastabilities in Greensboro, NC on two separate occasions.  For this entry, I’ll compare the visits, so let’s go ahead and dig in!

Decor

Pastabilities is located in Irving Park Shopping Center and is a small space in this strip mall.  Outside they have a store-front display space that was decorated for Christmas on both visits.  A tall, creepy looking Santa was on display.  This is one of the decorations that moves, and Santa looked like he was punching you in the head if you sat on the bench outside of the restaurant.  This was rather comical, but that Santa was way too creepy.  I heard other diners say the same thing, so I’m glad that I’m not the only one with this opinion.

Inside, the restaurant is small and tables are packed close together.  There is a small bar area at the back as well.  One side of the restaurant features a built-in wine shelf and wine bottles decorate the wall.  The other side is decorated with paintings and other wall hangings (there’s a huge spoon that’s pretty cool).  A nice touch is that there are small tea candles on each table for a romantic ambiance.  The decor is simple and suits the space well.  It’s not overdone.  The only complaint I have is that since the restaurant gets really crowded on Saturday night, it is very loud inside and feels claustrophobic.  I recommend going for lunch or dinner during the week to avoid the crowd.

Rating: A-

Service

1st Visit: The service on the first visit, which was at the beginning of December, was good.  Our waitress arrived at our table promptly and gave us enough time to look over the menu.  After we ordered our appetizer, I asked for a wine list and had to wait for around 5 minutes to get it, but it was busy so I understand.  The waitress had a good personality and was very friendly.  We did have to wait about 25 minutes after ordering to get our food, and I was really hungry so this wasn’t a great first impression of the restaurant.  I do have to reiterate that this visit was on a Saturday night around 7:30 PM, so I definitely understand the wait for the food, but I wish it was a little faster.

Rating: B

2nd Visit: Our second visit to Pastabilities was much better than the first.  This visit was the week before Christmas on a Thursday evening around 5:00 PM.  The restaurant was much less crowded and we were able to seat ourselves.  Our waitress came to the table right after we sat down.  She was also very friendly and knowledgeable about the menu.  Our food came about 15 minutes after ordering.  Our waitress even read the whole, long list of desserts to me.  The desserts aren’t listed on a menu, but on a white board at the side of the restaurant opposite of where we were sitting.  Since I was having trouble reading the board, she told me all of the options, which I thought was a nice thing for her to do.

Rating: A+

Food

1st Visit: On our first visit, Chris and I ordered the Mozzaluna appetizer (Crispy crescents of mozzarella, breaded with herbs and Romano cheese.  Fried and served with our marinara…..$5.99).

Mozzaluna Appetizer

Mozzaluna Appetizer

The appetizer was warm and fried until crispy.  I was pleased that the crescents were a decent size and the marinara was delicious.  It complemented the mozzarella well.  This different take on mozzarella sticks was a delight.

For my entree, I ordered a Build Your Own Pasta dish.  I chose Plain Linguine ($5.99) with Cream Sauce, Mozzarella cheese, Italian Herbs (Basil and Oregano) and Chicken Tenderloin (add $1.79).

Build Your Own Pasta (Linguine with Cream Sauce, Mozzarella and Chicken Tenderloin)

Build Your Own Pasta (Linguine with Cream Sauce, Mozzarella, Italian Herbs and Chicken Tenderloin)

The pasta at Pastabilities is house-made.  This linguine was cooked perfectly and was very tender.  The cream sauce was creamy, but lacked a lot of flavor.  I also wish there would have been more spices for a bit more “oomph” as the dish was kind of bland.  The chicken had a nice texture and the taste was reminiscent of rotisserie-style chicken.  While it was good, I probably would not have it on another dish.

I also ordered a glass of the Shooting Star Chardonnay (Mendocino Vinyards, California) to go with my pasta.  This chardonnay is one of the best I’ve had.  It was very smooth and slightly sweet.  It paired perfectly with the cream sauce on my pasta.  I’m now on a mission to find this wine at the grocery store.  The glass was around $7.00.

Chris had the Roast Beef and Crumbled Bleu Cheese sandwich (With sauteed mushrooms and black pepper aioli on a French roll…..$7.99).  All sandwiches are served with chips, but Chris substituted fries for an additional $1.29.

Roast Beef and Crumbled Bleu Cheese Sandwich with Fries

Roast Beef and Crumbled Bleu Cheese Sandwich with Fries

Chris commented that the roll and roast beef were great.  The beef had a lot of flavor.  The bleu cheese was strange because it wasn’t very sharp.  It had the classic bleu cheese flavor at first, but it wasn’t strong at all.  He also loved the fries because they are crispy and different from traditional French fries.

Rating: B-

2nd Visit: On the second visit, Chris ordered another sandwich, the Jumpin’ Jack (Smoked turkey, Pepperjack cheese, lettuce, tomato and Dijon on a hoagie roll…..$6.99).  He subbed the fries for the chips again for an additional $1.29.

The Jumpin' Jack Sandwich with Fries

The Jumpin’ Jack Sandwich with Fries

Chris enjoyed this sandwich more than the roast beef sandwich he had on our first visit.  The bread and turkey were very fresh and the Pepperjack added a hint of spice.  The fries were also perfectly done just like on the first visit.  Chris says that these fries are probably his favorite out of all the fries he’s had at other restaurants.

I ordered the Lasagna (Delicious and homemade, layers of cheese, meat and our marinara sauce…..$8.99).

Lasagna

Lasagna

This portion of lasagna is huge for the price of $8.99.  The pasta was perfectly cooked and the meat, marinara and cheese blend was lovely.  There was plenty of melted cheese and sauce in this dish.  I also really liked the spices on top because they added just the right amount of extra flavor.  The dish also comes with a salad, but I decided to skip it so the waitress brought me a fresh baked roll instead.  The roll was small and just the right size to go with the meal.  This lasagna is one of the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve had A LOT of lasagna).  It was definitely better than the lasagna I had at another Greensboro pasta restaurant, Cafe Pasta.

For dessert we had the Chocolate Chip Kahlua Pound Cake (I didn’t note the exact price, but it was around $5).

Chocolate Chip Kahlua Pound Cake

Chocolate Chip Kahlua Pound Cake

This pound cake was moist and delicious.  It was also really chocolatey, so I recommend it if you’re a chocolate lover.  The whipped cream helped break up a bit of the richness.  The Kahlua also added a great, sweet flavor and there were pieces of chocolate chips for added texture.  This cake reminded me of a Bailey’s cake my mom makes during the holidays.  It’s the perfect way to finish off a meal and isn’t too heavy.

Rating: A

Overall, our second trip to Pastabilities was much more enjoyable than the first.  The restaurant was less crowded and the food was tastier.  Pastabilities offers good-sized portions without breaking the bank and is a great local gem if you’re looking for a pasta fix.  The service is friendly and the food delicious.  Just a warning, it does get busy on Saturday evenings so be prepared if you’re going for dinner.  If you prefer a quiet, more intimate dinner I recommend going during the week.  You’ll be much happier.  They also offer takeout and delivery services, so this may be a better option for enjoying Pastabilities on Friday and Saturday nights.

Overall Rating: A-

Pastabilities is located at 1726 Battleground Avenue in Greensboro, NC.  Please visit their website at http://www.pastabilitiesgso.com.

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