Now that the Neapolitan pizza craze has come and gone, it might just be time for pasta to take its place at the center of the table. First there was Bar Primi, which jettisoned secondi in favour of showcasing what was traditionally only the semolina-heavy first course. Now, there’s Pasta Shop, which materialized as if from thin air at a former garage space by the Jefferson Ave L stop last week.
“We like pasta,” says Gianmarco Orecchio, Pasta Shop’s general manager. “It’s the best Italian food, you know? You can find pizzeria everywhere, but it’s hard to find a good pasta.” Orecchio admits that it may be especially hard for him to be satisfied: originally from Rome, he’s only been living in New York a year and a half and has quite specific requirements. “I like pasta from an original recipe like my grandmother used to make,” he sighs. “I’m not saying we’re the only ones who can make pasta, but…”
Like Orecchio, owner Antonio Pergoli Campanelli and one of the three chefs, Tony Marra, also hail from Rome. Of the eight pastas on the menu, three of them are classics of Roman cuisine: rigatoni alla carbonara, cacio e pepe, and rigatoni alla amatriciana.
On the other hand, a pasta-focused restaurant is definitely not a traditional Italian concept. But having spent a lot of time in Asia, Campanelli took ramen shops as an inspiration (as evidenced by the bar seating). “Because we had so many different kinds of pasta, I thought we could do something similar,” says Campanelli, who also owned Jarro in Boerum Hill. Moreover, he noticed a growing appreciation for dried and fresh pasta, and liked the fact that this staple was affordable and simple.
For Campanelli, the most important thing is “to have few ingredients, so you cannot cheat in these ingredients.” This is why he’s bringing in products that he knows well, from trusted producers. All of the pasta is made fresh in Tuscany before being frozen and shipped to Bushwick. The artichokes and olives also come from Tuscany, while the pecorino is from an award-winning Tuscan family business. All of this is expensive, Campanelli admits, but it comes down to priorities. “I prefer to spend money on olive oil than on marketing,” he says, laughing.
A brunch menu is also in place, which draws heavily on the restaurant’s signature dish but also offers up frittata, granola, and eggs several ways. A couple more desserts will shortly join the lonely pannacotta, and lunch service is expected to begin in two weeks. There’s a bread maker in the kitchen and an Italian espresso machine, so breakfast, too, is in the works. And while the restaurant waits for a liquor licence, Pasta Shop will happily remain BYO.
Check out the menus below.
Pasta Shop, 234 Starr St., nr. Wyckoff Ave., Bushwick; open for dinner 5:30-11pm (until midnight on Saturdays).