Thursday, May 19, 2011

Joe Pasta, Charleston, SC

Of Course Pasta Is King...

Stumbling upon a deep discount coupon for Joe’s Pasta we headed there for lunch.  Located on the corner of John and King Streets it boasts a great location (near the visitor’s center) and a few tables for outside dining.

This is not a restaurant you will be thinking of when you want to enjoy the décor. It’s very plain with subdued lighting and dark wood tables.  The restaurant itself seemed very dark during our lunch time visit.

Our server was quick to come to the table and was efficient, but nothing special.  At this point I wondered what’s going to make this worth the trip?  Bring on the food.

Inside Joe Pasta
Even though I had walked the bridge in the morning (which always boosts my appetite), we had an event to go to that evening and I was leaning towards a salad.  My husband insisted we order pasta since after all, it is “Joe Pasta”.  Their menu allows you to design-a-pizza and design-a-pasta. It also has a listing of specialty pizzas, pastas, salads, entrees and a few desserts.  Quite a nice selection and where to begin?

My husband chose the Gnocchi Entrée which had hot sausage and mushrooms in a salsa rosa topped with melted mozzarella. I chose the Seafood Fri Di Avlo which, interestingly enough was a “designer” dish.  You had your choice of shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels sautéed in a spicy marinara sauce with red onions, capers, tomato-basil, garlic and wine tossed in linguini. You can pick any two, pick any three or pick all four.  The price increases as you add ingredients.  I chose the shrimp, calamari and mussels and asked if I could have the spinach fettuccini instead of linguini.  The server said, “Of course”.

As I mentioned earlier, when we arrived, the restaurant wasn’t very busy so it was no surprise that lunch was served in just less than 10 minutes. Both of our dishes were screaming hot!  A plus, plus, plus. The gnocchi was a very generous portion with slices of sausage topping the gnocchi nestled in a sauce that reminded me of a red Alfred sauce topped with a bubbly topping of mozzarella cheese.  What’s not to love? My Fri Di Avlo was also piping hot and served in a massive bowl loaded with seafood.  Both of us thought, “This is all we’re eating today.”
Gnocchi Entree

Seafood Fra Di Avlo

Line @ Joe Pasta

Both dishes were delicious and we made a considerable dent in the gnocchi but not the fettuccini.  Not because it wasn’t good, because it was, we just didn’t have the room! We asked for the check and it took a bit, but we were in and out of the restaurant within an hour and if I were on a lunch break this would work for me!

We’d go back because the food was so good, but there is a caveat.  Because the restaurant was so dark we decided to sit near the front of the restaurant.  Upon doing so I noticed that the cooking line was at the end of the bar and not in the back of the house. I had a perfect view of it.  Why does this happen to me?

Having had Food Safety and Quality Assurance as part of my teams in the past, it’s hard for me not to notice poor food handling practices (which I did).  Rather than blather on about them here,  I spoke with the manager and he assured me he’ll be making the necessary changes.

All that aside, have the pasta it was delicious. 

Joe Pasta on Urbanspoon


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