The following is a short review of Pasta Italia.
There are some things I just have to write about. And a good meal happens to be one of them. I mean an exceptionally good meal. Like the one we enjoyed at Pasta Italia.
Pasta Italia is relatively new to Chattanooga. Located in the lower section of the Tallan building, the dining room is spacious with an atmosphere that is intimate and stylish. We were met at the door and ushered in to the waiting area, where we were greeted with smiles, as if we were old friends. The dining room was only half full (it’s very large), so we were shown to a small table for two, within view of the kitchen, yet not so close as to feel uncomfortable (one of my pet peeves).
Our waiter’s name was Scott and he took good care of us, from recommending a very good wine, to bringing us delicious “bonus” treats throughout the evening. The first was a small serving of rosette al forno. Although it was only a couple of bites, it was amazingly tasty. What a good beginning! Next one of the helpful staff brought around a huge cheese wheel of Grana Padano cheese. These cheese wheels come in 80 lb. blocks and they cut them in two before bringing them to the table. To tell you how good this cheese was, I savored my serving throughout the entire meal. Then we ordered our entrées. My wife ordered the Veal Sorrentino (veal on a layer of eggplant, and I ordered the Frutti de Mare – prawn, calamari, fish and a nice sized piece of lobster, all served over a bed of homemade pasta). Each meal came with a small house salad. Not to gush too much about these dishes, but every bite was wonderful. You hated to get to the end, yet were quite satisfied when you did.
The owner, Chef Michele D’Oto, came by our table several times and made us feel welcome. Chef D’Oto is from Modena, Italy (yes, where they make the best balsamic vinegar in the world, which, by the way, was on each table alongside fine extra virgin olive oil). Another claim to fame for Modena is that it is called the City of Engines, because of the presence of Ferrari, De Tomaso, Lamborghini, Pagani and Maserati in the city of nearby. You’ve got to love Italy, don’t you?
At the end of the meal we only had room for some coffee, which was consistent with the rest of the evening’s fare – warm and tasty. But wait, there’s more. Just as we were about to get up, Scott brought over two small cups into which he ladled one of the tastiest after dinner drinks I have ever tasted. It was called vin brulé, a mulled wine with added spices, served warm. Definitely topped off the evening at Pasta Italia.
It always feels good when you go to an unknown restaurant and have a good experience. This is one I won’t forget, and am looking forward to our next return trip. Pasta Italia Chef D’Oto must be the flavor king of the world.