It was part family catch up dinner, part hey-let's-try-this-new-restaurant in the old neighborhood. That's the back story that brought us to Pastaio, over on Parade Street on the West Side of Providence, last night.
Some people stress while others obsess over it. Obviously, I'm talking about bread. Truth is, in my family, we like to eat great food and we especially enjoy our bread. (My mom would def attribute this to her side of the fam, the Italian one.) So, as a bonafide carb fan, I will say the sliced foccaccia bread we had to start was pretty darn tasty. Always a great sign. (Come one, you know if the bread stinks, then odds are...)
Next thing that deserves a shoutout is their menu. It's not ginormous and hence (in my book) not overwhelming. You essentially choose from a handful of navigatable options, small plates and entrees. Instead of ordering a main dish, I decided to go with 3 of their SP's - the Local Baby Greens (Hold the pancetta! After all, I've got a trip planned to lend a hand at HEEFS in a few months.), Gnocchi alla Romana (Really more of a polenta dish, but highly recommending no matter how it's listed.), and Roasted Baby Carrots (done with honey vinagrette, almonds, yogurt, and dill, and almost too delicious). The others in my party were more adventurous and went and ordered both apps & mains, including the Chicken Milanese.
The verdict? Over the past two and a half years, I've tried a few restaurants in PVD that other people have raved about and left either starving (*literally* prompting an emergency pizza run), disappointed or a miserable mixture of both. This was, I'm thrilled to report, NOT one of those times. Everyone in my group, including one of us who can be kinda sorta a tough critic, left full and happy. Hooray! Full Disclosure: we actually had just enough room left for coffee and cupcakes down the street and around the corner at Sin, another spot worth checking out next time you're in the vicinity.
Photo Credits: All photos courtesy of PattyJ.com