Decent pasta, cosy dining, bit disappointed.
Another craze I’ve been hearing about since I came back to vancouver. Another “what?! you still haven’t had their pasta?! its amazinggg!” And so, i popped that cherry last friday with some girlfriends and had my very first taste of this fresh, italian inspired, homemade pasta hub.
First impression after walking in, is that it is a very beautiful, cosy restaurant that has a casual romantic vibe, you know with the warm colored incandescent light bulbs to set the mood. There is limited seating so either book or get there early!
We began the dinner with an antipasti of their famous Luigi’s Meatball. It was a very well executed meat (pause) ball, with the right amount of herbs, raisins and pinenuts embedded inside. The addition of the raisins and pinenuts made the meatball less..well meaty, you know that feeling when there is just too much meat in one mouthful to the point where it doesnt taste enjoyable? The two added ingredients add a surprise element for the tastebuds to enlighten each meaty bite. The tomato sauce that accompanied it was perfect, although I did find that it wasn’t enough for us to share.
We ordered three pasta dishes for our mains and first up was Pappardelle and Duck Ragu, a dish that I was most excited to try the most after doing my research on instagram and urbanspoon.
I loved the thick housemade pasta noodles which was cooked to el dente perfection *thumb to index finger to lips italian delicioso motion*. Pasta noodles were smooth, no bumps or lumps, mixed with a light tomato sauce and sprinkled with a light amount of cheese. Although it took some digging to find the duck meat, it was there, just hidden under all that pasta goodness.
Next to arrive was the squid ink pasta with octopus. Dish was so-so, bland, flavours were absent. Texture of the spaghetti was wonderful, but taste wasn’t up to par. The octopus also felt powdery…a sign of not being fresh enough? It didn’t appear to have the bouncy/elasticy/chewy texture of fresh octopus, quite disappointed. I was also expecting a jalapeno kick, which I did not find in the near flavourless dish. Would I order this again? Probably not…
Last was the pumpkin risotto. I love a good risotto. I love the gooeyness holding the rice pieces together. I love the heavy creamy texture, that almost has a porridge like finish to it. Unfortunately the one here did not deliver as hoped. The risotto was cooked right; not being a batch of overcooked gloop which is a common setback found in many restaurants. The maitake mushroom, sage, garlic and pumpkin seeds on top were tasty additions to the pasta, but sadly that wasn’t enough to make the pasta stand out. Taste was greatly lacking in this dish. Not only did it taste very very bland, but pumpkin flavour was greatly lacking. As a big fan of the pumpkin and squash family, I was expecting to be comforted by this dish. Sadly only a faint fainnntttt taste of the pumpkin came through.
Overall, I thought Ask for Luigi was just alright. I loved the meatball and the pasta were all made and cooked to perfection, but there were too many other misses in the dishes. Perhaps they were having an off-day…but for the time being, I will venture to other vancity restaurants first before returning. Maybe next time!
Ask for Luigi
305 Alexander Street, Vancouver, BC
Wed-Thurs: 1130-230, 530-1030
Fri: 1130-230, 530-11
Sat: 930-230, 530-11
Sun: 930-230, 530-930