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June 08, 2000




2495 E. Tropicana Ave.


A famous food writer once said that you can put anything on a noodle and Americans will eat it. One thing I've deduced from years of gastrnomic investigation, is that most American–Eye-talian food tastes pretty much the same--which is pretty bad to boot--and mediocre at best. Most restaurants the menus are almost identical, as are the cooking standards and the standards of an undemanding public….think about it…people are passionate about all sorts of regional and ethnic foods….except Italian. In most towns (even ours) people think--and are opinionated--about where to find the best burger, bagel or macho grande burrito. But when it comes to red sauce Italian, that sauce can be from a can, the noodles from a thirty minute water bath and the mushy bread from wonderland, and not an unkind or thoughtful word will be uttered by the satisfied customers. So if everyone’s fat and happy, who am I to complain? Well I’m not really, just pointing out that the next time someone tells you about how good some place is ask them if it makes its own pasta, creates all sauces from scratch, and has a chef/owner and his brother on the premises running a family business and making you feel like one of the family. They’ll probably answer no to your questions, giving you the chance to recommend the Pasta Shop on East Tropicana. You can then point out to your undiscriminating friends how this tiny space supplies three hundred pounds of fresh pasta daily to better restaurants all over town--and how David and Glenn Alenik know how to turn out sophisticated and homey maccaroni dishes with the best of them. And Best of all, the Pasta Shop serves up this quality at prices so low that a nice bottle of wine--from the small, well-chosen list--is almost mandatory. By your second glass you’ll wonder what you ever saw in the Macaroni Garden, and pity the hordes who haven’t the taste or the sense to dine at the Pasta Shop.

This is John Curtas.

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