As one of the few Japanese/Italian fusion restaurants in NYC, Basta Pasta offers an interesting proposition. Featuring traditional Italian pasta dishes with decidedly Japanese ingredients, the restaurant presents a mash-up of delicious proportions.
I ordered the linguine with fresh sea urchin in pink sauce (above), being a fan of 1. uni (sushi sea urchin), 2. pink sauce and 3. basil. Combine them all, and what do you get? A creamy, slightly briny dish that was neither Italian nor Japanese but a scrumptious meld of both. Served over al dente pasta, this dish is a must-try for uni fans.
My eating buddy ordered the silk handkerchief pasta with mixed mushrooms, lemon zest, and ricotta cheese:
The lemon zest gave this dish a springy aroma that contrasted nicely with the earthiness of the mushrooms. The ricotta provided a creamy yet not overwhelming counterpoint to an otherwise light dish. This dish was consumed pronto.
The pasta portions at Basta Pasta are not huge, which left room for dessert – my favorite course! I ordered the vanilla gelato crepe with fresh berry and pistachio sauce.
Compared to the pasta portions, the crepe was ginormous. The crepe was slightly spongy, which I believe was intentional; however, I prefer a thinner crepe myself. The gelato was rich and flavorful, and the sauce was sweet without being sickeningly so. I’d recommend.
My eating buddy ordered the yogurt mousse with honey gelato and Campari-soaked fruit. See that big dollop of whipped-cream looking stuff on top? That’s the yogurt mousse, which, incidentally, reminded me a lot of whipped cream in both taste and texture. Not a problem if you’re a big whipped cream fan (that’s me!), but a little disconcerting if you’re not. That being said, the honey gelato was delish and the fruit was both tart and sweet.
Overall, I’d recommend Basta Pasta if you’re looking for a new take on traditional pasta dishes. Just a head’s up – there’s often a wait, but they do take reservations.
Italian with an Asian twist – it leaves you satisfied but not overstuffed. Reservations recommended!
37 West 17th St. (btw. 5th/6th Ave)