Sunday, January 20, 2008

Review: Pazza Luna

The bf and I have been meaning to go Pazza Luna on a Wednesday night for some time now. Why a Wednesday night?
1. Wednesday night is pasta night: you can choose from 4 different pastas and it's only $10 per plate (as opposed to the regular cost $15-$20 per plate). They offer two from their regular menu as well as two specials.
2. Every day from 5-6:30 is happy hour. They offer discounted drinks (including $2/$3 beers and half price wines by the glass that regularly cost $8 or $9), and $4.50 special appetizers or $5 appetizers from the regular menu. The only catch is that you have to sit at the bar, which only seats 8 people, so you can't get there too late.

Last week was not the best for me, so the bf suggested that I take a night off and that we go out to dinner, and we made a reservation at Pazza Luna for 6:30 on Wednesday.

We got to the restaurant at 5:50 and the bar was almost full – there were only two seats available, and they weren't next to each other. After some rearranging of seating (the girl next to me was pissed off that she had to slide down one seat and move her big purse off a chair so that I could sit in it – what a prissy snob!), we sat down at the end of the bar. A few other couples showed up shortly after we got there, and we heard them ask for seats at the bar – they were all obviously denied and had to be seated at a table instead, so you really do need to be there before 6 if you want to take advantage of happy hour.

We both ordered a glass of Aglianico and, after some deliberation, we decided to share the antipasto misto. I was a little disappointed that a lot of the appetizers listed on their website weren't available, and it was mainly the vegetarian ones that they didn't have, which limited our options. Our wines were poured immediately as well as generously – we definitely got more than five ounces in our glasses. The wine was very good – definitely not some cheapie bottle that they marked up (then again, I've never seen a bottle of Aglianico for under $12 so it was bound to be decent, at the very least). We got our food shortly thereafter – it was a substantial plate with two each of grilled eggplant, grilled zucchini, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, slices of sopressata and prosciutto, wedges of some firm, slightly salty cheese, and four green olives, as well as four thick slices of bread. The vegetables tasted fresh and were grilled just right, the cheese was nondescript, but good nonetheless, and the bread was fresh and soft with a crisp but not hard crust. The meats were good, from what I was told.

After scarfing that down, we ordered ourselves another glass of wine – this time, we got a Barbera. It was almost 6:30, so we let our server know that we had a reservation for a table and were ready to move to it. We were seated at a small table next to the window and the waiter came over immediately to tell us about the specials. We had already heard them at the bar, so we went ahead and ordered: I got what was described as a mixed ravioli (half sun-dried tomato, half eggplant) in a light tomato sauce, and the bf got what was described as "linguini infuse" (which was homemade rosemary and black pepper linguini) with arugula, goat cheese, grapes, and sausage.

Our waiter shortly returned with a basket of bread and a small plate with a full head of roasted garlic on it, around which extra virgin olive oil was poured. We weren't quite sure what to do with the roasted garlic because it wasn't soft enough to spread on the bread, so I just smashed some of it into the oil, which was not very good – it was thin and lacked flavor (my guess is that they cut their extra virgin oil with either regular olive oil or canola oil to save some money).

Our pastas showed up shortly thereafter. I was surprised by mine – the 6 ravioli were not in a light tomato sauce, as I had been told, but rather in a pool of lightly browned butter in which sat a few limp sage leaves, and they were topped with lightly cooked diced tomatoes. I decided to reserve judgment until I ate the ravioli. The sun-dried tomato ones were great: the pasta was clearly homemade and was cooked just right – just a little bit past al dente – and the filling of sun-dried tomatoes and ricotta cheese was creamy and slightly spicy. The eggplant ravioli were not as good, but they were fine – the filling of pureed eggplant was very bland, but at least it was encased in sun-dried tomato pasta. My biggest problem with this dish was the bizarre saucing – brown butter and sage is something that is usually reserved for ravioli filled with pumpkin, squash, or spinach and ricotta, or for gnocchi – not for a tomato-y ravioli. Overall, the dish was good, but I’m glad that I didn’t pay more than $10 for it.

I didn’t try the bf’s dish because it contained sausage, but I was intrepid enough to cut off a small piece of linguini that was far away from any sausage. It tasted slightly peppery but I couldn’t really taste the rosemary. He said it was good, but I didn’t get the impression that it was all that great.

The entire meal, with tax and tip, came to just under $50, which is a pretty good deal for one appetizer, two entrees, and four glasses of wine. There’s no way I would have paid full price for everything we got – the quality of the food, while fine, definitely doesn’t warrant the high price tag of the regular menu. Overall, we were satisfied with our meal, and we might go back, but only on a Wednesday evening, when we can take advantage of both happy hour and the pasta specials.


John said...

Ooooh, next time I have a Wednesday evening off - which is rare - I am SO there.

Meghan said...

sorry it wasn't as fantastic as you had hoped....

do you ever find, having such a love affair with food, that you can be dissapointed by things other's might not notice? as i read this, i felt the dissapointment as your dish came with sage/butter and diced tomato... some would say "thats fancy!"...

roopa said...

John - it's definitely a good deal. I'm willing to give it another chance.

Meghan - I didn't think of that, but you're totally right!

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