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May 6, 2011 06:56 PM

Pastamore new in Amherst

At the old Aspirations location - now the building is red- just opened. Very nice italian menu lunch and dinner. Lunch is limited, but expansive selections for dinner. If anyone goes please comment on board.

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  1. Wasn't able to stop in yet. I do know that the owners are both servers from Pizzaco Merrimack.

    Believe they are both from Italy due to their accents, not sure if they are both in the kitchen though. Hope to stop in soon.

    Where did you see the menu? I looked for a website, but can't find one.

    1. Just went there this week. First, the owner is of Italian descent, but everyone there was from Brazil. They have done a great job on the interior, taking it from a quick lunch spot to a place that could be a nice intimate dinner interior, slate entrance, dark wood tables...small pictures of Italian landmarks everywhere. All the glassware and dishware were very modern and tasteful. The music was fun, upbeat and all Italian.

      Now the food...the menu seemed promising. (Very large though) Suppli on the app list had me thinking that this place would go a bit beyond the normal Americanized expectations. There was also fried calamari on the menu, but we played it safe with some tomato mozzarella bruschetta (mistake #1 of the night) ... it consisted of a dense, (buttery?) bread topped with basic tomatoes, balsamic, basil and sliced mozz, then baked or warmed to melt the cheese. So, bruschetta that wasn't actually bruschetta'd (by that I mean, grilled or toasted first). Almost like a french bread pizza, but underdone.

      I tried to go a little interesting with my entree and ordered the Chicken Piccata Arancia (can be ordered with veal, but I wanted to play it safe). So, chicken, piccata style, but with orange instead of lemon and served with pasta (on top, thought it would be on the side). This sounded really good, and I put faith in the chef that even though there was orange in the dish, it would not taste too bitter, but it was. It was also incredibly under-seasoned. I think the salt would have probably toned down the bitterness, but this dish was really hard to enjoy, it just needed so much more salt! There were also mushrooms, which I think would have been better if they were cooked more. The spaghetti...slightly overcooked, and you could tell that it had been precooked and held for sometime. I mean, I KNOW that restaurants do this, it has to be done, but there are ways for the eater to not have to realize it. My husband just had pasta with tomato sauce and was really underwhelmed as well...the sauce wasn't terrible, but would have been easier to enjoy if the pasta was done right. We figured we might as well try dessert...went for the profiteroles, which were a packaged frozen dessert (still cold in the middle, and the sauce that was supposed to be on top was like a frosting on the cream puff). It was pretty pricey for the portion size and quality you get (I'd choose quality first, but if I don't get that, I'd guess you could be happy with portion).

      Other items: Pappardelle, lasagna, shrimp and pasta, mushroom ravioli, Saltimbocca...I wish I had more specifics, but the menu is lengthy, and I just can't remember...I think there are some beef options.

      Wow, just remembered...ordered a meatball side; tasty, but very tough.

      I think this place has so much potential, maybe a smaller menu would help them to do each thing really well rather than trying to please everyone. Other diners seemed pretty pleased while we were there. Would be nice to have another Italian option in this area, I'd like to check back in a few months to see how things are going here.

      1. We stopped by today about 3:30 so missed lunch but we hadn't eaten yet so that was fine.

        Had the Suppli which was very good, and really enjoyed the meat sauce served with it.

        I had the Gnocchi Veneziana, and Hubby had the Wild Mushroom Ravioli. Both of us were very happy with our choices and we both tried a bit of the other's. I'd get either one again without hesitation, but want to go back and try something else. It was a good time to stop in, as we were the only ones there. One of the owners served us and remembered us from Pizzaco, so were were able to chat a bit too. He was the only staff out front due to our timing I'm sure.

        I so hope they are consistant with the quality and make it there. There is very little else in that stretch of 101A.

        I had never been there when it was Aspirations, and was expecting more of a counter service type interior, so was pleasantly surprised with it. Tables aren't so close that it would be uncomfortable on a busier time.

        1. If you want good service and food - don't stop here. I made reservations for Saturday at 5:30, there were 5 of us in the party. Good thing I made them, because when we got there the only open table was ours and one that sat 2. We sat right down which was the only fast portion of the evening. Our watress took our drink order (5 sodas) and that took over 10 minutes to get to us. When she dropped those off we ordered our appetizers. We ordered Suppli and Calamari. Needless to say, the people who sat in the 2 place table had their drinks, bread, appetizers (2 of them) and their meal delivered by the time we got our appetizers. Both of them came to the table barely warm. The suppli in my opinion was the worst thing I ever put in my mouth. The grease on the cold appetizer left a nasty taste in your mouth and the cheese inside had gotten firm again. The only good thing on that dish was the taste of the dipping sauce that came with it, but again cool. The calamari was the worst thing I have ever tasted. It was cold, greasy, no seasoning at all and had an aweful taste. My husband thought it tasted moldy and I thought it tasted fishy. Either way, not enjoyable. We all ordered different dishes which all arrived luke warm at best. My daughter had a dish that was very cheesy, but because of the temperature some of the cheese was turning solid, which ruined the taste of her dinner. My son-in-law's pork looked like it had been fried last week and then refried the night we were there. I would not have served that to my dogs. The only thing this place has going for it is the prices. It cost $95 for 5 sodas, 2 appetizers and 5 entrees. I would avoid this place at all costs. I read the article in the Telegraph and it is obvious if you are writing a review or friends of the owners you will get great service. The 2 people who sat down after us who were eating their dinner when we finally got our appetizers had the owner waiting on them. Their service was fast, unlike ours. I'm sure their food was also hot, unlike ours. I would not waste my time stopping here if you are looking for good (HOT) italian food. It was a great dissapointment and for 3 of the 5, it did not sit well in their systems.