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Enjoy Solid Comfort Food at The Pasta House

This family friendly St. Louis staple lives up to its name with a diverse assortment of noodles.

Company on West Florissant remains a family-style St. Louis chain that works hard to create a cozy, retro 1960s family diner atmosphere.

Black and white checkered tile cover the floor. The ceiling trim is fire engine red tile. Oversized posters of spaghetti westerns interspersed with black and white photos of vintage Italian city scenes adorned the walls of the eatery.

As a family friendly restaurant, they had plenty of booster seats for kids and variably sized tables where people could pull up either a highchair or a wheelchair. A small party would find some quiet and solace in the bar area, while there’s ample space for a party of 10 or more in the central dining room.

The menu has a few hearty sandwiches, such as a meatball sub or an Italian sausage sandwich with peppers and onions. You can also get some classic Italian favorites, such as Chicken or Eggplant Parmesan or Chicken Marsala. However, with a name such as The Pasta House, you have to try some kind of noodle dish.

The menu lives up to the name. The Pasta House offers stuffed pastas (ravioli, manicotti, cannelloni), seafood pastas served with linguine, cream pastas served with fettuccine, tomato pastas served with penne or spaghetti and a small selection of specialty pastas. I was extremely pleased to see the one thing they didn’t offer was Provel as a substitute for real cheese.

The Penne Romano with Chicken Spedini tempted me. It comes with a specialty quill-shaped pasta coated in olive oil and sundried tomatoes and topped with marinated and charbroiled chicken.

Obviously, when reviewing a place called The Pasta House, it makes sense to try as much pasta as possible. The special of the day was stuffed pasta trio with one cannelloni, one maiacoti and six ravioli.

Perfect.

The trio came with a simple house salad made from a mix of iceberg and romaine lettuce. Small pieces of roasted red pepper were spiked throughout along with long strands of purple onion and mixed in a generic Italian dressing dense with feta cheese crumbles. This isn’t a fancy salad, but it was very nicely executed.

The pasta trio was impossibly huge. My hearty plate of meaty pasta was attractively presented with nice accents of white sauce atop the hearty red. Eight total pieces of pasta doesn’t sound like much until you’re presented with a plate the size of a small child.

The manicotti was stuffed with ricotta so sweet it would’ve worked in a dessert. The hearty red sauce brought the sweetness back to entree levels.

The smooth cheese filling nicely matched the smooth, meaty interior of the cannelloni. The restaurant processed the beef, veal and chicken blend to a creamy smoothness unusual in meat. The two made a great match. In both cases, the rich white sauce atop the pasta tubes was offset by the thick chunky texture of the house red sauce layered underneath.

The half dozen ravioli were sturdy pockets of pasta stuffed with a filling that had the same taste and texture as the cannelloni. If you like The Pasta House’s slightly sweet, smooth meat filling, the real difference here is the texture of the pasta that goes around it.

Regardless of what pasta you order, they don't skimp on the sauces. My finished plate looked like all it needed was a handful of spaghetti noodles, and I’d have an entire second meal.

The absolutely massive desserts were downright intimidating. I chose a light summer strawberry shortcake because it was the smallest of the batch.

It came as three layers of pound cake separated by strawberry icing and whipped cream, all topped with sliced strawberries in syrup. While it wasn't bad, it was kind of generic. It does the job if you're looking for a sharable sweet at the end of a meal.

My pasta trio, salad, shortcake, and iced tea came to $20.24 plus a $4 tip. It’s not the cheapest Italian food in town, but they offer fast service, a diverse menu of pasta and space for parties of any size.

I give The Pasta House a solid, comfortable B for solid comfort food.

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