Saturday, July 2, 2016


Click images to enlarge.

Let me begin this review by telling you the restaurant is located at 1726 Battleground Ave. in Greensboro.  I believe it's called Lawndale Shopping Center.  There is a link to the restaurant below.  Click it to learn more.  

Note when you visit the PASTABILTIES web page the photos section.  There's lots of photos of the food, the customers, and the restaurant.  Unfortunately, all the photos are so tiny you can barely see them and there appears to be no way to enlarge them.  It's very frustrating.  It's definitely a missed marketing opportunity.

I've always wanted to try PASTABILITIES.  I can't say for sure why, but it's always been near the top of my list.  I guess a restaurant with the word "PASTA" in it's name is the trigger.   Everything with pasta is supposed to be better.

The GOOGLE reviews of PASTABILITIES are mixed.  Some diners felt the place was fabulous, while others said the service was poor, the food tasted "processed" and "microwaved."  Something was amiss.  How could one of Greensboro's best restaurants offer poor service and serve processed and microwaved food?

Then PASTABILITES appeared in Spoon University's list of Greensboro's top 15 restaurants.  It was time to visit PASTABILITIES and put all my anxiety and doubt to rest.

This sign greets you when you enter PASTABILITIES.  We arrived at around 6:30 PM and had no trouble finding a seat in a what I thought was a sweet spot.  We were expecting to stand in a line to wait for a table.  It didn't happen.  We were very quickly met by a smiling waitress ready to take our order.

Let me say PASTABILITIES is not nearly so large as it appears in the restaurant's web site.  That was a good thing.

Until the restaurant was filled it was a fairly quiet evening.  As customers continued to arrive, the noise level grew.  To get to the restroom, you had to weave your way around tables and dodge waitresses who were scurrying here and there 

Debbie said the place had the feel of a "community bistro".  I'm not sure what she meant by "community bistro".  Maybe her comment will help you.

I believe PASTABILTIES considers itself to be an Italian restaurant, but the menu had a bit of everything.  I had to take notes while I read the menu.  That's my notes you see on the left.

I counted sixteen different salads, eleven appetizers, ten sandwiches. five chicken dishes, five seafood dishes, three hamburgers, five Italian specialties, five meat entrees, four vegetarian dishes, three pizzas, five items on the kids menu, plus an almost infinite number of BUILD YOUR PASTA combinations.  Plus about a dozen different desserts.

It was hard not to be reminded of Alvin Toffler's FUTURE SHOCK - the book in which TOFFLER predicts the future will be "dazed and confused" by too many choices.  How the PASTABILITIES kitchen staff gets the orders right must be a trick unto itself.

I would have been happy with just BUILD YOUR PASTA, the wine, and a dessert list.

I forgot to mention the dozens and dozens of wines, beers, and cocktails that were available.  This view is but a partial selection of wines that were on the menu.  Of course, the wine Debbie ordered was sold out.  

So, we washed our dinner down with water and of course the waitress brought our waters with slices of lemon in the glass after being specifically asked not to put lemon in the water.  I normally pick the lemon out and lay it on the table.  This time I picked the two slices of lemon out of our glasses and handed them directly back to the waitress. 

I remember the days when if you asked for water, they brought you water without any useless fruit in the glass.  I'd like to know who started the lemon in the water thing many, many years ago.  If you know, please tell me so I can find him or her and throttle the life out of that person.  Now you must request "no lemon" in your water and you will probably still get the lemon about half the time

Here's a shot of the bar with the mandatory TV.  I don't think anyone was paying attention to the TV.  A second TV on the other end of the room was not even turned on.  Notice the large bouquet of flowers on the right. 

OK, now it's time to talk about the food.  This is an appetizer called "mozzaluna".  It's crescents of mozzarella cheese breaded with herbs, romano cheese, fried, and served with marinara sauce.  It sounds good, doesn't it?  It wasn't.

I was served three crescents in the contraption you see standing behind the plate. I could only eat two.  I don't usually waste restaurant food.  Debbie tasted one of mine and immediately pooh-poohed it.

It was several hours later before I made the connection between "luna" and the shape of the appetizer.  Mozza I had figured out pretty quickly.  I'm slow like that at times.

I now understand the Google reviews that called the food processed and microwaved.  Mozzaluna could have come out of a brightly colored box pulled from a Walmart freezer

Check out this mozzaluna after I've taken a bite out of it.  There was barely any mozza in the luna.  It was nearly a hollow shell.

This was Debbie's appetizer - Gotcha Foccacia   These weren't bad, especially after dipping them in the cream tomato sauce shown with them.  Gotcha Foccacia is fried bread covered in Parmesan cheese.  They were pretty tasty.

This is my BUILD YOUR PASTA dish.  It's whole wheat linguine with a cream sauce, romano cheese, pine nuts, and Cajun anduoille sausage.  It is spiced with garlic, black pepper and crushed red pepper.  I never tasted any pine nuts.  Maybe they were there, maybe they weren't.

I've eaten whole wheat pasta for many years.  I know what whole wheat pasta tastes like.  This pasta did not taste like whole wheat.  It had a rough and coarse texture.  Pasta should not be rough and coarse.  Somebody forgot to scale the fish before cooling.

The dish was not good, but I suppose I will have to take some of the blame - I ordered it that way.  All of the ingredients sound tasty, but when you put together - not so much.  One clue that it was not just my bizarre combination was the sausage.  I tasted it by itself.  It had no flavor.  Well, maybe the flavor of chewy moistened cardboard.  I went to college in Louisiana - I know my Cajun sausage.

If you decide to BUILD YOUR PASTA, I hope you have more success than I did.  It's the way to go at PASTABILITIES, but you've got to get it right.

This is Debbie's entree.  It's a FRIED OYSTER SALAD.  The oysters were large, crunchy, plump, and juicy.  They were served on spinach with mushrooms, carrots and a bacon vinegarette.  This was a good dish.  Why does Debbie always order the good stuff and I get the dregs?

As if the BUILD YOUR PASTA with mezzaluna and foccacia weren't enough carbohydrates, our entrees were served with dinner rolls and butter.

At the risk of exceeding our carbohydrate tolerance level, we declined dessert.

This is Cindy Essa.  She's the owner of PASTABILITIES.  Our camera drew her attention.  She wanted to know why we were taking pictures.  You would think with all the camera phones around no one would pay any attention to a camera anymore.  Debbie said I draw attention because I use an "old school" camera rather than a cell phone.   Debbie explained that I was a "food blogger" and PASTABILITIES was on a list of Greensboro's top 15 restaurants.  That answer seemed to pacify Cindy and she smiled for our camera. 

Cindy said a lot of other things, but I couldn't hear a word she was saying, even though she was only three feet away.  She was competing with the restaurant noise.

PASTABILTIES is good for carbo-loading, but I doubt we will ever return to PASTABILITIES.  Debbie's dishes were good, but mine weren't.  The service was fine.  

PASTABILITIES does not belong on a list of top 15 restaurants.  Somebody made a mistake by putting it on the list.

The tab was about $39.00 with a tip.

Click images to enlarge.

No comments:

Post a Comment