Birthday Dinner Part 1 – Basta Pasta

It was time for my birthday and my mom had asked where I wanted to have my birthday dinner. We’re spent quite a few birthdays at Ichi Umi, especially when it used to be called another name. This year, I wanted something a little different. Basta Pasta has been on my go-to list for a while now. The prices are a bit out of my normal “cheap eats” range so the boyfriend and I have never been able to find an occasion to go. But since my mom was paying for dinner, I thought, why not?

I made reservations for 6:30pm and we arrived around 6:20. We were a bit early but were seated right away. We were led to a table for four with settings for three. It’s nice to know they actually planned a table for us and wasn’t just sitting us anywhere there was a table. After sitting, our waiter quickly came over with menus. They were so cute! The menus were tiny little booklets – only about 3-4 pages. The front of the menu was decorated with a flower drawing. The inside was divided into three sections – appetizers, pastas, and meats. Despite the menu’s small size there was a big selection to choose from.

Our waiter left us to peruse our menus but returned later with a complimentary plate of blue cheese spread on pieces of their bread. Normal charge for these is $1.50 each so we were pretty happy about them. The spread was so delicious! I’ve never had blue cheese spread like this before so it was something new for me.

After ordering, our waiter brought over some bread and breadsticks. I only had a piece of the bread but I had about four of the breadsticks. The breadsticks were crunchy and tasted like Salad Pocky (for my fellow Asians). At several points during dinner I would just pick one out of the cup and nibble on it.

Within ten minutes of us placing our order, we received our first appetizer – Insalata D’anatra, which features cherrywood-smoked sliced duck breast with watercress & arugula ($12). The watercress and arugula was pretty standard but the duck breast really stood out. The meat was smoked to just the right amount. The duck breast was chewy and not rough at all. The serving size was more than generous – there was more than enough meat to go around between the three of us.

Our next shared appetizer was the Tortino Di Granchi, which features crab meat, avocado, green apples, yukon gold potatoes & basil aioli with grapefruit jelly, sliced radishes & chayote ($14). I had high expectations for this dish but was slightly let down. The mixture tasted almost like an avocado and potato salad. There wasn’t enough crab taste and the basil aioli also overpowered the mixture. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t amazing either.

Our last shared appetizer was the Linguine Ai Ricci Di Mare, which features linguine with fresh sea urchin & basil in pink sauce ($14). This is one of their signature dishes but since I had already chosen an entrée ahead of time, I wanted to give it a try. We ordered the appetizer portion of this dish and it was just right for the three of us. We were able to get an abundant serving of sea urchin and linguine. I really liked this dish and it might have been my favorite of the night. The sea urchin was fresh and didn’t taste fishy at all. The combination was amazing and something I never would have imagined.

A few minutes after we finished up our linguine, my entrée was wheeled over. That’s right, I did it. I had chosen Basta Pasta’s signature dish, Spaghetti Con Prosciutto E Parmigiano ($16). This dish features spaghetti with parmigiano reggiano & parma prosciutto and is served in a half wheel of parmesan cheese at the table. Another waitress came over with the wheel of Parmesan cheese and started preparing it. First a steaming hot plate of al dente pasta is placed into the half wheel. The hot pasta causes the cheese to melt, which mixes with the pasta. The waitress then tosses the pasta in the cheese and chips away at the cheese. The entire mixture is then plated and topped with prosciutto. The serving size of this dish might be slightly small for most people but I liked that it wasn’t a heaping dish. I was able to finish my entrée with room for dessert.

After all our dishes were cleared, we were offered the dessert menu. Again, the menu was small but the choices were large. I was torn between their Vulcano Cake and the Tiramisu and decided to go with the Tiramisu since it was their original ($9). The presentation of the dessert was flawless. Coupled with sliced strawberries and grapes, this dish was so pretty. The Tiramisu was more fluff than cake, which I liked. However, the cake was a bit soggy, which is a sort of pet peeve for me. I like my Tiramisu’s soft and melting in your mouth, not soggy. I could actually see the moisture leaking out of the cake.

My mom ordered their Flan ($8), which was very good. The Flan had the perfect caramel taste and coupled with the sweetness of the whipped cream, it was perfection. I kept stealing bites of my mother’s dessert because it was so good!

My sister ordered the Composta Di Mela, which features an organic red delicious apple compote & vanilla gelato ($9).  Topped with a caramelized marsala wine zabaglione, this dessert was very pretty to look at. The crepe was thin and easy to cut but managed to hold all the ingredients together without falling apart. I had a bit of this crepe and it was very good. The apples were a pinkish color, which was odd looking since we’re all used to caramelized apples. Nonetheless, this dessert was very good. The vanilla gelato was amazing. Next time, I’m ordering just gelato!

Now that we’re done with the food, let’s talk about the décor. The décor is very simplistic. The walls are minimally decorated. When you first walk into the restaurant, you hit the bar. Then you hit the two sections of the open kitchen. Its all very open and airy in the restaurant. The tables are only decorated with a small vase of flowers. Despite the simplistic décor, I felt like that was what gave Basta Pasta it’s own style. It was all very fresh and carefree.

Although our service wasn’t super attentive, it wasn’t bad either. I do give our waiter points for bringing my mom water without ice after she ordered a cup of tea for dinner. He must’ve realized that my mom doesn’t like cold drinks. Major props for noticing the small ticks of customers.

Basta Pasta, I wasn’t all that impressed with some of your dishes but the dishes that were good, were great. Therefore, I am giving you a 4/5 stars.

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