Bowie, MD… the mecca of chain restaurants. I don’t hate you, but I enjoy supporting the little guy or the guys that have been in the family for generations. I don’t enjoy the multi-million dollar corporations spread across the US, that I can find just about anywhere. I want a special unique, experience. End rant…
Last night I wanted real Italian and my yelp search around Bowie was not yielding the raving mom and pop reviews I was looking for. So I expanded my search to Laurel, MD (about 20 minutes away). And found a place called Pasta Plus… not a fancy name or great website, but great reviews and people commenting on the outside appearance. My roommate even said it was a good place to check out. Most said driving by, they would not go there. And I would agree… from the outside it looks like an outdated dump. But when you go through the door and down a small hallway, you open into a room packed with families/friends enjoying their meals and chatting. He even had reservations on my choice until he walked through the door. I believe his words were, “this will work”. See… I can make good choices too!
All meals came with bread and a salad… for me two salads. As you know, I am hunky-dory about eating two salads! This was no super special salad, very basic. Most of the lettuce was iceberg with a few pieces of red oak and romaine. It had cucumbers, grated carrots, grated red cabbage and tomato with a caesar dressing. It really was not a terrible salad and was a nice size. The bread was a fresh Italian. It was very soft inside, but a hard, crisp crust. The hard butter and soft bread made for difficult spreading. I think I would have enjoyed an olive oil for dipping as opposed to butter. Is that an American adapted thing or a traditional Italian way to serve bread?
He ordered the lasagna. This was one hearty piece of lasagna smothered in sauce. It had many thin layers of finely chopped meat and onions. From the ricotta cheese to the noodle, it was proportioned to be even providing a balanced flavor; where nothing over powered the other. It was satisfying lasagna, but just ordinary. If we used the letter rating system, he said he was giving this a “B”. The sauce did not have much seasoning that seemed to pack a lot of flavor, it was plain. He also enjoys the crispiness of the noodles from baking in the oven, which was missing from this. I, on the other hand, am completely OK with no hard noodles. ($14.50)
I went in a different direction. The ravioli and tortellini were sounding splendid, but gnocchi verde was selling me. I think partly because it contained peas, mushrooms and onions. The spinach gnocchi was delicious. Gnocchi isn’t always my favorite because it is too doughy. You say, well duh… it is dough, but it has to do with the size and thickness. Their gnocchi was a perfect size and density. The cream sauce wasn’t heavy like most can be and was very cheesy (may be because of all the Parmesan I sprinkled on top), It was delicious and I look forward to eating the leftovers for dinner tonight! He was scared of the green gnocchi, but finally decided to try some. I made sure it was free of anything healthy (except the spinach for color) and he liked it. ($14.50)
As a whole, the service was great. They were attentive to keeping our water filled and clearing the table. The meal came out right after
we I finished our my salads. The owner came to our table at least once to make sure everything was to our liking. The staff was polite. Attached to the restaurant is their market. You can purchase fresh Italian meats and desserts. They serve lunch which seemed to be similar to the dinner menu just smaller portions (I assume based on the price difference).