A Night at Oh, My Pasta!

Success can be a double-edged sword. Despite the existence of four other Italian spots within a block, when my wife and I stepped in to Oh! My Pasta, the new restaurant at 142 Montague St (the old TAZE space), it was filling up rapidly, and didn’t have a table to spare by 8 PM. Pretty good for a place that’s been open less than a week. Unfortunately, the crowd seemed to be more than the staff could keep up with. Order taking was delayed, some patrons became frustrated. Our food items were mixed up (we received a pasta CARBONARA rather than a CAPONATA appetizer at one point). The staff was so overworked that empty tables were left uncleared as more urgent matters were dealt with, and it took my wife ten minutes to get a fork for her second course (not for lack of asking), after which TWO appeared.

That said, the food was delicious, especially the freshly made pastas (a signature point of the restaurant’s owner, and his Executive Chef Steven Lecchi). The menu has a limited number of appetizers, 15 pasta dishes from Puglian recipes, four salads, seven vegetable dishes (good either as appetizers or contorni, and main course of the day and a handful of desserts. I enjoyed a flavorful chickpea puree with roasted chicory (a green found in any restaurant in Italy, but relatively rare here) and garlic, and cavatelli pasta with garlic, tomatoes and pancetta; my wife had the aforementioned caponata (eggplant, olive, capers and tomato) and tagliolini with Sicilian pesto.

Oh, My Pasta is a promising addition to the neighborhood, and a nice change from the “American” Italian food (the waiter’s term, not mine) nearby. But, before going in, I’d give them a week to settle in — maybe two.

(A liquor license has been approved but the paperwork isn’t in yet, so for the moment it’s BYOB)

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  • cc

    can’t wait to try this place. who cares what the name is as long as the food is good!

  • Josh Baskin

    I had dinner there on Friday evening with my wife son and inlaws. The food was absolutely terrific. The Pasta dishes (I tried 4 in addition to what I had) are certainly as good if not better than most Italian expense account places in Manhattan, which I have the privilege of dining at frequently due to the nature of my job.

    The service was well intentioned but chaotic to say the least. Like the poster above, there were mix ups with our table and others and a mistake on our bill. My wife had to leave early with our 4 year old son who was acting up. They never brought her order, which we wanted them to wrap for us, but it appeared on the bill anyway. The staff was very nice and apologetic though and it was corrected. There were a fair amount of frustrated diners when we were there as well but I only heard positive things about the food when it arrived.

    Bottom Line-

    This place is really really good. To say it’s exceptional might be a bit of a stretch, but not too much of an exaggeration. Maybe not quite exceptional, but there’s no doubt that the food execution here is way too sophiscated for such a casual setting.

    It’s a welcome addition to the neighborhood and I really hope they can work out the service bugs (Which are numerous). If they do, they’ll be very successful.

    I really want this place to succeed so Go Now! It will be BYOB for at least another week so pick up a bottle of wine and enjoy! Just know what you’re getting into service wise and bear with them.

  • Call me Al

    Terrible name. It’s embarrassing to say to somebody.

  • Elmer Fudd

    Do they have Duck or Rabbit? Hewww.

  • Chuck Taylor

    thrilled to hear it! can’t wait to get there myself within the week. thanks for the great report chris.

  • kipped

    I just came from my first dinner at Oh, My Pasta!, and oh, it was absolutely phenomenal.

    Yes, there were a few service issues, but everyone there, from the servers to the owner to the executive chef, were pitching in to meet the diners’ needs. They couldn’t have been more friendly. In fact, both the owner and the exec chef stopped by our table (and every table), thanked us for coming, asked about the food and shared a few stories. It was delightful.

    About the food. A friend and I shared the eggplant parmesan “side” (a huge portion) and two dishes — the Genovese pesto and a Puglian pasta (don’t remember the name) alla Norma. The sauces were fresh, flavorful, and exceeded in taste and quality any pasta dish I’ve ever had in this neighborhood (which I don’t say lightly, being a fan of Noodle Pudding). They also served us a homemade foccacia bread pressed with fresh tomatoes, capers, olives, rosemary and perhaps some other herbs. We had no room for dessert, but hell if I didn’t take the freshly made tiramisu home with me. It’s sitting in the fridge for later, but apparently it’s soaked in rum, so I can only imagine it’s delicious.

    The only reason I’m taking the time to write all this is that I very badly want this restaurant to survive! It’s like someone took my grandma’s Sunday dinners and plopped them in the middle of the neighborhood for me and the world to enjoy. I can’t wait to bring family and friends.

    Between this restaurant, Hanco’s, Bevacco, the extended hours and menu at Vineapple and the new ownership at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, this neighborhood is rockin right now. It’s an exciting change.

    Now, excuse me while I go post my Oh, My Pasta! review on Yelp, Foursquare, and every other site that will have it…

  • Karl Junkersfeld

    Above post by “kipped” was excellent. Couldn’t agree more with the exception that the anchovy dish was very salty. We mentioned it to Marco, the owner, and perhaps he made some changes to this Puglian specialty.

    Can’t wait for Bevacco on Henry and Cranberry. I am very confident that the dishes will be fantastic and the price points reasonable. The interior is really shaping up to look gorgeous.

    Remember my video about this very restaurant many moons ago:


  • Donna

    I thought the place was way too ambitious for what it is and I must have gone on the chefs night off because what we ordered was not what arrived at the table and by the time the corrected food arrived the others in our party were already finished with thier meals and had to wait for us. Go if you’re adventrurous but go fast because this place seems ready to implode.

  • chris

    Is Bevacco still in play? It was promised for Summer 2011, and I haven’t seen any sign of activity at the planned space.

  • kipped

    Karl, thanks for the ‘excellent’ rating — means a lot coming from our restaurant critic extraordinaire. Yes, I remember your post about Bevacco from months ago, and I’ve been chomping at the bit ever since. Being a North Heights, Henry Street resident, I’m beyond eager for it to open.

    Donna, I think you should give Oh, My Pasta a few weeks and try again. The food speaks for itself.

    And anyone embarrassed to say the name ‘Oh, My Pasta’ is taking themselves too seriously! I actually find it quite fun to say.

  • karen

    We went Saturday night and I had read the comments about the service so we were very willing to be patient, recognizing that it was the first week. Everyone was very nice and friendly even though they were completely overwhelmed.

    The food was very mixed unfortunately. The foccaccia was delcious, the fava bean puree excellent, the ravioli with butter and sage was by far the best main course and it was excellent. Everything else was “ok”. Loved the fresh pasta but the sauces/dishes definitely need a little more attention. I’m sure they’ll move things along as they get going so I’ll wait a couple of months and try again.

  • David

    When my pasta-loving wife and I sat down to dinner at Oh My Pasta, we had an immediate aversion to the ambience or lack thereof There were the too-bright halogen lights, the echo chamber-like din, cardboard-mounted pictures of pasta dishes — note to owner, only Chinese food joints are allowed to show pictures of their food — not to mention the IKEA sticker on the bottom of of my wife’s wine glass. (We’re sure the molded white plastic and chrome-legged chairs came from same IKEA). Yet, after reading the menu, we thought all of these assaults on our visual and aural senses would be overcome by the owner’s stated mission of bringing the traditional art of pasta making from Puglia to Brooklyn Heights. Unfortunately, we can’t report one way or the other. After 45 minutes of nothing more than our wines by the glass and some bread and olive oil, we agreed the place should be renamed “Where, Oh Where, Is My Pasta?” and left, leaving a few bucks to cover the wine. The last straw arrived about 20 minutes after the owner apologized that he was a man down for the evening, and that our first course was on the way, when we saw a table for four that arrived after us get real food. I’m not buying that one more person would have made all the difference. We saw too many people leave without being served (some never got menus). This place is a classic example that just because you know how to cook doesn’t mean you can run a restaurant. The Keystone Cops service would have been funny to watch if it wasn’t so aggravating (and the place wasn’t even full). I’m not sure they noticed we left.

    I’m still curious about the pasta. My strategy?: If they are still around six months from today, I’ll presume they figured out how to run the place and perhaps try again. In the meantime, the owner might consider rethinking his business, closing down for a week or two, redesigning the decor with an “ear” toward fixing the acoustics, and planning a kitchen that works. If the homemade pasta is as good as the owner preaches, then he should undertake a serious do-over and get it right.

  • Barbara

    We just tried “OMP!” last night…I agree with the reviewers above: the service seemed downright confused, as if these were people who had no idea what they were doing. Our “waitress” was super warm and friendly but seemed not to really have much experience at, well, being a waitress.

    Having said that, everyone was incredibly warm, and Marco the owner is very passionate about the quality and flavor of his food, which we found to be truly outstanding. My husband had the pasta carbonara while I tried the orecchiete. Both absolutely delicious and obviously incredibly fresh. But I worry that Marco doesn’t really understand what he’s up against, that New York is a tough market in which to ‘wing it’— when we spoke with him he seemed not to understand the importance of having a complete dining experience- food, service, atmosphere- and he just repeated over and over that they’re “working on it, and tweaking”, and how fresh and high-quality his food is. I commented on River Deli, the fact that despite a terrible name and location they are always packed. He was interested but said he was “too busy” to see for himself what I was getting at.

    Again, we’ll probably be back because the food is worth overlooking the service and atmosphere. But I have a feeling most people won’t feel this way, they will try OMP before Marco and his team have finally gotten their act together and fixed their kinks, and that they will very sadly have missed the boat: this isn’t some village in Italy, dude, this is New York City.

  • Amanda

    Agree that the wood was great, but the terrible atmosphere was hard to look past. It felt like a cafeteria – bright glaring fluorescent lights, no music, bright white walls with large glamour shots of food (again – is this a cafeteria?), and crazy loud dining room. Management actually had a laptop out on a table as well. It was just awful.

    Prices were reasonable and food was great, but we won’t be back unless they can manage to lower the lights, add some candles and music, paint the walls and maybe add some fabric to soak up the noise. Seriously – they could remake this place in a few days and it would be terrific. I hope someone is reading this and goes for it because it could be a great restaurant!