I-Pasta West Chester PA
I'm surprised to find I'm the first reviewing it here. It's been open about 2.5 years and is well worth a trip.
A Simple, Family run Italian place providing simple Italian food, but wonderfully prepared! BYOB only.with NO Corkage charge! ( Cindy!..take note!),
If you don't like Pasta, do Not eat here.....there is nothing else except some great appetizers, a salad, and some wonderful desserts imported from Italy. THERE are NO ENTREES beyond pasta!, although a lovely mix of appetizers.
but...for pasta.......incredible. All home-made on the premises. About 8 types to choose from and at least 15+ sauces, depending on their specials. We were 2 couples, each with our own bottle. They serve some complimentary bread with pomodore sauce along with some pieces of cheese with a wonderful dipping sauce.
One person had their signature Amariciana (sp?) sauce with Totottoglore(sp?) pasta. Exquisite! Nice pieces of bacon and a slightly spicy sauce. Another had the spinach and cheese ravioli ( a special) with Pomodore sauce that she declared, divine. The other two had Carbonara over different pastas. I snuck a bit that said it was also good!
We did not have dessert since we were stuffed...........much to our chagrin. Three salads for the table, 4 pasta dishes, and we were out of there for $50 a couple including tip.
A small place.maybe 8-10 tables. On a tues night,early, it was slow and we had no problems (we had made reservations) Maybe 4 other tables were taken by couples. service was very friendly and efficient.
Definitely worth a try and we definitely will be back!
Inspired by this thread, and since we were making a Saturday road trip to visit Va La Vineyards (30 minutes away in Avondale), i-Pasta was a convenient stop-off for dinner on the way back to Philly.
i-P is an odd mix of formal and informal. A long, narrow restaurant, the front of the house is attractively styled, with comfortable tables for 2 or 4 (half being high tops) and seating for 30. However, the rear is dominated by two deli displays and a fridge at the front of the kitchen, which are incongruously informal. Is this a formal Italian sit-down, or a sandwich shop? I'm confused the moment I walk in.
However, the advantage of one of the deli displays becomes apparent because it features i-P's fresh, homemade pastas, which are the focus of the menu. Convenient, since you will probably not recognize the name of every pasta on the menu (what the heck is "Trottole"?).
The menu is divided into essentially 2 parts, from which you pick one of each: First, the sauces, of which there are ~13; and second, the pastas, of which there are ~7 to choose from.
For the 2 of us, we went with 3 different dishes to share, to maximize our opportunity to sample the variety:
~Shrimp & zucchini sauce on Trottole (pasta shaped like a toy spinning top!)--Nicely al dente, with lots of onion and minced garlic in the thin sauce (unfortunately it wasn't as garlicy as I expected), this was one of a half-dozen specials on the board; nice, and the shrimp were properly cooked, but probably my least favorite of the three sauces
~Calabrese sauce on Capelli d'Angelo (an even thinner version of Capellini)--The sauce was described as hot, but was in fact fairly mild, and served with a liberal sprinkle of Parmesan-like cheese on top; nicely balanced in flavor and not overly-meaty, I would definitely order again
~4 "Quatro" Formaggi sauce on Linguine--Asiago, Gorgonzola, Provolone, Parmesan with heavy cream, this was perhaps my favorite, although you need to eat it quickly before it congeals. Perhaps the next time we'll ask them not to bring out all of the plates at the same time.
~2010 Va La Vineyards La Prima Donna -- An "orange"-style wine (but filtered) made from a field blend of Tocai, Malvasia Bianca, Viognier, Pinot Grigio, Petit Manseng, this is by FAR the best PA wine I've ever enjoyed
We didn't try the "imported Italian desserts", although since we were not even offered a dessert menu, just a verbal description of 2 specials, I'm not sure if they are still available. Which would actually be a good thing in my mind: if you can manage to make your own pastas every day, one should also be able to make desserts in-house. I expect more from Italian immigrants (or do all restaurants in Italy serve machine-made desserts?). However, we did share a sweet Mascarpone cream with strawberries and blueberries on top, which was tasty but not terribly creative (not sure if it was home-made). They also offered a Tiramisu that we didn't try
BYOB (no corkage), and I didn't notice the stems, since we brought our own (yes we are that geeky). They were able to provide an ice bucket for our just-purchased wine from Va La, although I don't think the server knew what to do with it (as it came out with barely an inch of ice in the bottom and no water).
Our service was very rapid. But at 5PM we were also the first patrons of the evening, and without a reservation I detected a slight undercurrent of panic about where to seat us, despite the fact that when we left 1 1/2 hours later the restaurant was at best half full.
On the whole, we very much enjoyed our meal. The pasta was simple, well-made, and nicely presented (on large shallow bowls placed on larger gold-painted plates), and the sauces tasted exactly as described.
But again I find this restaurant somewhat incongruous. Whether the decor, the service, the over-large double plates crowding the table, or the useless paper napkins (come on, this is a sit-down pasta restaurant, with all the expected spattering, and you give us tiny paper napkins???), it all came off as nice but a bit clueless. Perhaps not surprising since the chef-owner was until recently phamaceutical chemist, not a restauranteur. Definitely a family labor of love, but with a few tweaks it could be so much more.
However, we will definitely return next time we're in the area.
I'm laughing, FCF! Considering we've never met, you know me pretty well. In fact, I had dinner with a friend at Blue Pear last week, and I brought along a bottle of Cabernet Franc from the Galer Winery. Even knowing full well that there'd be a $10 corkage fee didn't keep me from grumbling when the check came.
I'm sure I've seen positive mentions of I-Pasta here on these boards, but for some reason it's not on my radar when trying to decide where to dine. But with your review as a fresh reminder, I'll get there soon -- bottle(s) in hand -- maybe even later this week.