By Michele Polci and Lisa Lynn Backus
Who doesn’t love a neighborhood restaurant to call your own? In such a big city with all sorts of dining options, these establishments get lost in the shuffle. You can imagine how ecstatic we were to find the Pasta Shop Ristorante and Art Gallery in Green Valley.
The atmosphere is as casual and welcoming as the food is wonderful. All over the walls and ceiling (and everywhere else) is unique art, much of it crafted by the owner’s other half. A chalk board in an artsy frame sums it all up with a six-word alliterative declaration: “Fresh Pasta / Funky Art / Fabulous Wine.”
If you ever wanted to be part of a big Italian family surrounded by plentiful food including homemade pasta, where everyone is genuinely interested in your happiness and sends you home with food, we’ve found you the perfect eatery! It’s the kind of place where the owner knows your name, welcomes you with a handshake and checks for satisfaction throughout the meal.
Ciabatta garlic cheesy bread was delivered to the table immediately as we sat. We were surprised we managed to make it last all dinner. One of us would’ve been super happy just with bread and wine for the night. The wine list was an easy read with descriptions that made you want to try them all, especially the California reds.
Our favorite of the night just might have been the artichoke appetizer. It’s not on the menu, but we had heard the regulars have come to demand it- and we can see why. It’s a perfectly cooked artichoke, petals removed and artfully arranged as a flower, heart in the center and leaves radiating out all around with a little fresh red pepper to add a vibrant garnish. Topped off with an EVOO/balsamic potion, the taste sensation was something to behold. Difficult though it was, we demonstrated our united restraint by leaving a couple of these tasty leaves behind (just two, believe us!).
A must try is the Saffron Shrimp Sauté, with squid ink fettuccine in a colorful saffron cream sauce. Served in a bowl with a pasta-twirling spoon, the tiger shrimp appeared to be synchronized swimmers in the sun-hued pool of yumminess. Amazingly, the spoon served a dual purpose making this dish a double feature of sauce and saffron soup.
We also enjoyed the Ravioli Bianca. It was subtly filled with cheese and topped with a browned butter sauce, roma tomatoes and toasted pistachios.
While Caesar Salad appears on menus everywhere, we found the Pasta Ristorante’s version perfectly dressed. It was light in flavor, not overpowering the rest of the meal. Another weightless pleasure was the Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake with ginger graham cracker crust. This dessert was definitely shareable for four with a few bites each for taste. We didn’t have enough room to finish this so we boxed it up for later.
Pasta Shop and Ristorante is a gathering place for all. The night we dined, so did a group of 10 for a social dinner meeting. Also a romantic couple, and a gentleman picking up a large order to go. A bonus for making Pasta Shop Ristorante your new favorite place is the parking- it’s right in front of the shop.
So, if you are looking for some fun, colorful, casual, make-you-feel-good art and happy-to-be-hungry-for-Italian food, we’ve found the perfect place.
And that’s What She Said!
Pasta Shop Ristorante & Art Gallery
2525 W. Horizon Ridge Pkwy., Henderson, NV 89052