Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Pastaria Pub, Lima
Italian restaurants are hit-or-miss spots for pizza. Some have it, some don't. Among those that do, some are very good, at others ... well, stick to the pasta.
So when I learned a few weeks ago that the Pastaria Pub in Lima had pizza on the menu, I was eager to check it out, but unsure of what to expect. What I got was some pretty good pizza, whether from a restaurant or otherwise.
The crust on my 12-inch pie was fairly thin, with a mostly medium-brown underside that was dotted with darker, nearly-charred spots. It had a slightly toasty flavor. The underside was dry to the touch, and the slices were pliable enough to fold, and firm enough not to require a knife and fork.
This was a pretty cheesy pizza, not overly so, but the well-melted cheese had a definite presence here. It appears from the menu that the Pastaria Pub usually uses a mix of mozzarella and provolone, and this cheese did strike a nice balance between texture and flavor, with the stringy chewiness of mozzarella and the slight tang of provolone.
The sauce stayed much more in the background. It was there, I could see it, and it added some moisture to the mix, but I had a hard time picking out its flavor.
Along its edge, the pie was formed into a medium-thick lip, which was somewhat crunchy. The thickness of the cornicione also allowed the dough's bready qualities to come through more.
The Pastaria Pub offers 14 pizza toppings and 10 specialty pizzas, including a chicken carbonara pizza with grilled chicken, bacon, alfredo sauce, mozzarella and provolone. All pizzas can also be ordered as individual-sized flatbread pizzas. The rest of the menu runs toward standard Italian fare, with an obvious emphasis on pasta, as well as steaks, chicken and fish, sandwiches, burgers and wings, plus nightly specials. The space is divided between a neighborhood pub/bar area and a two-level dining room. Service was friendly and attentive.
I'd like to say that this was good for restaurant pizza, but while that's true, it would be damning with faint praise. So I'll just say that this was good pizza. For my taste, it was just slightly out of balance - heavy on the cheese, light on the sauce - and the crust was very good, but fell a little short of greatness. But those are relatively minor demerits, and overall this was a tasty, well-made, enjoyable pie. I'll give it a B+.
Pastaria Pub, 7281 West Main St., Lima. 624-2080
Lunch, Tue. - Sat. 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., Dinner, Tue. - Thu. 4:30 - 9 p.m., Fri. & Sat. till 9:30 p.m., Sun. till 8 p.m. Pub open Sun. - Wed. 3 p.m. - ?, Thu. - Sat. 11:30 - ?