The new Pazza Luna
They opened last week, has anyone ventured in yet and if so, how was it?
Pazza Luna Trattoria Italiana is not affliliated with Faccia Luna. One of the owners is Riccardo Bosio of Sotto Sopra Restaurant (http://sottosopra.us). He brought the chef to the US to work at Sotto Sopra and then he moved on to Cafe Troia. The chef is Gianfranco Fracassetti. The food is Italian not American Italian. The first floor has been remodeled and they will be remodeling the 2nd floor soon.
There's a menu hidden in there. I think I found it by hovering over one of the unlabelled stars. The menu is displayed in an annoying Flash control that doesn't respond to scroll wheels or Page Up/Down keys, requiring instead mouse clicks on a thinly drawn scroll bar.
Quite an annoying website.
It says, "The evening Stars will be your Guide", the first star is the menu, I think the 2nd is History, etc.
I didn't have an issue with it.
We've got an 8:00 reservation this evening. I'll post my comments either tonight or tomorrow. I'm going with low expectations and hoping to be surprised!
Well, I must say that I was pleasantly surprised by our experience at Pazza Luna. They've updated the decor a bit and made it brighter. The menu was not extensive, but everything was well done. That being said, they've brought in a whole new menu, so don't think that any of the old favorites are still there, The wine list is featuring most of the bottles are the $30 range because they are trying to go through the stock that they received when they bough the restaurant and then switch to Sotto Sopra's wine distributor.
We had the antipasta misto plate to begin with which was very good. I usually like more cheese selections on my plate, but it was still tasty. My wife had the lasagna and I had the veal which were both great.
So, bottom line, the restaurant is very good. It is less expensive than it used to be. Dinner before tip was $94 for 2 cocktails, bottle of wine, app, 2 entrees and desert. It is basically like a Sotto Sopra lite. But, I know that people will enjoy it!
Here's my two cents: This place has promise to be a good Italian neighborhood place. They claim to be an Italian restaurant and not an Italian American one. My interpretation of this is that what is meant is there is no spaghetti and meatballs. I do like how the menu is set up, a few appitizers/antipasta, then a couple of nice pasta selections and the mains. I really enjoy having some nice pasta and then a simple dish for dinner. Unfortunatley, all of the mains on the menu are full dinners (and priced that way). For example, the chicken comes with potates, the lamb with risotto. You need a large appetite to go thorugh a "primi" and "secondi".
I had the antipasto. It was light on the cheese and had a nice selection of olives, grilled eggplant, roasted pepper and the like. Sized for two to share comfortably. The meats were not adventurous. It was proscuitto, mortadella, capicola and sopresetta. It would be nice to have some speck or lardo, or better yet more options, but if any of that was available, it wasn't made clear.
I also had the Casoncelli. I was told this was the native dish from the chef's home town. It was small ravioli type pasta with asparagus and pancetta. The pasta was excellent, but I thought the cream sauce was too heavy (this could be personal preference, it certainly didn't taste bad).
Overall, I like the place. Miles above teh Sabatino's/Chiperelli's of Little Italy. Also clearly superior to the orphan lunch spot the spawned off of Sotto Sopra earlier this year (which is plain terrible).
Our Italian neighbors went last night and liked it. They had the mixed salad, some sort of lamb shank appetizer, duck ravioli with orange cream sauce (a special, I believe) and something else I forget. Also the chocolate semifreddo, which was not freddo (frozen) at all but more like a regular mousse. They said the decor was the same as the old Pazza Luna and echoed the comments above: limited menu, but everything cooked pretty nicely. Service, they said, was fawning -- not annoying fawning, but more traditional Italian fawning.
I'm excited to try this new place. I was a fan of Sotto Sopra back in the Gianfranco days. I think his kitchen was the last all-Italian kitchen at Sotto Sopra. On top of that, Gianfranco is very laid-back chef in these days of diva chefs.
My girlfriends and I checked out Pazza Luna last night for their happy hour and their Wednesday $10 Pasta Special.
$1 martinis, $2 beers, $4.50 small plates, and 1/2 price glasses of wine - made us a very happy group of girls! There was no one else at the bar when we got there, but it didn't stay that way for long....
I had the orange berry martini, and a glass of the Jekel riesling. One girlfriend got the blueberry creamsicle - we don't recommend it... We split the fried calamari (fab dipping sauces), and the shrimp buzara at the bar. Both were delicious! After happy hour was over, we moved to the chef's table, and enjoyed the rest of our meal there.
There were four $10 pasta special options, which apparently change every week.
I started with their soup of the day - cream of cauliflower. It was just ok. I could taste the cauliflower, and it had a good flavor, but it was way too watery. For my meal, I opted for one on the regular menu - the Garganelli Pazzi( $16.50), which was like penne with a gorgonzola cream, slices of pears, and amaretto crumbs. This was SO GOOD! I brought my leftovers home to the hubby & he wanted to go there for lunch today!
Everyone else raved about their entree as well...they started with the Shrimp in a lemon garlic sauce & they loved it! One of my girlfriends got the Lobster ravioli ($10), one got the risotto cioppini ($10), one got the linguini with clams in wine sauce ($10), and one got the pollo caprese. I tried the lobster ravioli's & they were yum!
The bread that they served with olive oil and baked garlic was just ok.
The service was attentive without being overbearing, the ambience was really nice, and it definitely got more crowded as the night went on.
Romantic vibe could be felt, which would make for a nice date place! When we left, there was a limo waiting outside, so someone must have been there for a special night!
I highly recommend this place for a romantic Italian meal, or a nice relaxed meal with friends! I can't wait to go back for the Garganelli Pazzi!
Because of this post, we checked out happy hour and the $10 Wednesday special this week and were very pleased. I really did think when I first read the post that miller meant to write $1 OFF martinis, but NO, there is a list of about 7 fruity martinis (or the other regular ones are 1/2 off) that are just $1.00. The boy, who does not usually go for fruit martinis, made an exception and had 3 which cost us $3.
The bread they brought out was perfect - crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. And a full head of roasted garlic in olive oil for spreading and dipping.
We each had one of the $10 entrees. He had a special berry risotto with 3 lamb lollipops. He enjoyed it, but thought there was a bit too much risotto by the end (when he had run out of lamb). I had the black pepper/rosemary fettuccine with grapes, arugula and goat cheese (and sausage, but I got this on the side for the boy since I don't eat meat). It was the best pasta dish I've had in a long while. The flavors went together so well; the boy tried it with the sausage and said he wished he had ordered it instead.
Even though it is on the other side of the harbor (where we rarely venture), I think we'll be back. The Garganelli pazzi (mentioned by miller) looked intriguing, so I hope it is on special again soon.
p.s. In one of the posts here, someone said something about a place like this not having spaghetti and meatballs, but this was one of the $10 options tonight.
Glad you enjoyed! I returned tonight as well w/said girlfriends! We arrived around 7pm, so we must have just missed you!
The spaghetti and meatballs were on special tonight & 3 of the 5 of us ordered that special - it was fabulous, except we were anticipating larger meatballs! With that said, the entree was fab!
We were celebrating a birthday, and were treated to an initial round of champagne, and a concluding round of moscato di'asti. This was in addition to the two bottles of wine we ordered, so pardon any misspellings! ;)
I was wondering how the berry risotto was - it sounded interesting with the lamb lollipops!
I was on the boring side this time & ordered the same (delicious) garganelli pazzi b/c I have been longing for it since last Wednesday! YUM!!! We again split some kind of frozen chocolate mousse, which was divine, and just enough for the five of us to taste.
We learned about their Tuesday night 1/2 price bottles of wine & $15 seafood night, so we might have to check out a Tuesday night in the near future!
Wow...sounds like a lot of us were there last night.
Our service was okay. The bread didn't arrive until the meal but it was apparently just out of the oven (even though it wasn't that hot). The server was apologetic and we were relaxing so it wasn't a big deal.
My wife had the spaghetti and meatballs. The spaghetti was interesting in that the noodles weren't long and round but more flat and twisted, but they were very fresh and tasty. The sauce was good but the meatballs were dry and not very flavorful. They almost seemed like the kind you buy frozen at the supermarket.
I had the vegetarian lasagna which was good. The sauce was particularly flavorful (some mixture of cheese and tomatoes), but the noodles were too tender and perhaps overcooked. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it.
I think we'll go back but only when they're offering some sort of special.
Girlfriends & I have been busy, so hadn't been back to Pazza Luna in a while. We decided that last night we would go back for our favorite happy hour & pasta night in the city!
We were disappointed that their happy hour has changed :(
It is now $1 for the first "house" martini, which last night was Lime. They still have the rest of the happy hour specials though. The bar was packed when we arrived, and nowhere to sit at the bar! I guess sometimes I should keep good specials to myself! ;)
They did change their wine list and menu around for the "Spring" menu. I was HIGHLY disappointed that my fave - the Garganelli Pazzi was taken off the menu!
We started with the bruschette, which was just ok. There are 6 pieces of bread (which were slightly burnt) with 3 different bruschette's on top - tomatoes, red peppers & an olive tapenade. We also had the mussels, which weren't as good as we have previously had there. There were also several empty's.
It was still $10 pasta night, and there were 5 choices
- Linguine w/clams in a tomato & wine sauce
- Gnocchi with pancetta (not on menu)
- Risotto w/shrimp & a lemon sauce (not on menu)
- Egg Pasta w/bolognese meat sauce
- Spinach Fettucini w/zucchini, mint & garlic
2 of us (including myself) got the Bolognese Pasta, and thought it was really really good! I ate the entire plate, even knowing that hubby would appreciate leftovers!!
2 of us got the Linguine w/clams, and they enjoyed.
1 of us got the Risotto special & it was a very large portion - she enjoyed the fresh lemony flavor, and had about 1/2 of her plate to take home.
We enjoyed some creamy layered mousse-like dessert, that was fab!