I recently made friends with an Italian man from Rome and discovered that he loves Japanese food. This reminded me of Basta Pasta – Japanese-style Italian food. I was curious how he perceived Italian and Japanese fusion, so I invited him and another food lover for dinner. We arrived after 10:00 pm to find the restaurant extremely busy – even on a weekday evening.
Whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant with non-Japanese friends, I usually end up choosing an appetizer. However, I took advantage of being with an Italian person and asked him to pick a starter to share. Out of over 15 available choices, he first selected Polpo, or roasted/braised octopus, but after learning it was sold out for the evening he opted for Calamari alla Griglla. It was grilled calamari instead of the traditional fried version, and it came with sausage stuffed with curry risotto. The squid was so fresh and delicious! The second appetizer was Gnocchi di Patata, which was sweet potato gnocchi with sage cream sauce and lighter than I anticipated. For our main courses all of us ordered pasta dishes. We noticed that a number of other guests ordered Spaghetti con prosciutto e parmigiano, perhaps because they were intrigued by the fact that the pasta is tossed in a parmigiano wheel. I ordered Fettuccini alla Bolognese, and fettuccini was homemade and the meat sauce was deliciously matched with the noodle.
We ordered two desserts – Tiramisu and flan. Both were very good (the flan reminded me of Japanese desserts that are not overly sweetened)!
Price: Entrees $22-28
Neighborhood: Flatiron District
Dress code: Casual
Dining alone: Yes, but maybe good place for group gathering