Sometimes, dining at an establishment that offers only a handful of menu items daily is refreshing. There's something to be said about restaurants secure enough in their own dishes to not find the need to cater to a variety of different palates with a plethora of options. Case in point: Pasta Louise, a Park Slope destination that serves only one (or, sometimes, two) pasta shapes every day.
If the name of the operation sounds familiar, that's because Pasta Louise originally operated an outpost four blocks away, on Eighth Avenue and Eighth Street.
In need of more space, owner Allison Arevalo decided to turn the first iteration of her shop into a cafe that serves a modified menu filled with dessert treats, coffee and pasta kits. The new storefront, at 1114 Eighth Avenue, on the corner of 12th Street, has officially become the brand's first full-service restaurant.
"Our kitchen on Eighth Street was tiny and we only had one table inside," explains Arevalo. "I was also afraid of the outdoor dining regulations changing in New York City. If the city decides to remove all the street structures, I would have lost 75% of my seating. It was also so hard on my team to be outdoors every day in the cold and the rain. We are all so happy to finally have indoor seats!"
The concept is pretty straightforward: every day, the chef of Pasta Louise selects one fresh pasta shape to serve and customers get to choose what sauce to drench it in. In addition to the eatery's signature roasted tomato sauce, diners can opt for the best-selling cacio e pepe (cracked black pepper and salty pecorino); garlic, tomatoes and olive oil; meatball sauce; wild mushroom and fresh herb sauce; and a bright and creamy concoction made with roasted peppers, smoked paprika and roasted garlic dubbed Dad's Famous Red Pepper Sauce.
"I thought it would be fun to surprise guests with the pasta shape and to get people to try shapes they've never had before," says Arevalo when asked about the inspiration behind the restaurant's setup. "At first I thought people would be angry that they couldn't choose the shape, but I've never received a complaint about it! People are happy to make one less decision."
Salads, a couple of side dishes and a solid roster of desserts round out the menu, which is served in an airy, floral space. The menu and the environment perfectly complement each other.
And so, we urge you to visit Pasta Louise not once—but many times. How else will you be able to try all the pasta shapes your heart desires, after all?
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