Tuesday, April 24, 2012

From the draft vault - Regina's Pasta Factory

Sept/Oct 2011: It's not often that I go out to eat as much as I did this week. What's even more rare is that every night, I went to the same place. I may have an addiction. I'm kind of torn on how to blog three different evenings, so bear with me. I might hop around a lot.

Wednesday: My daughter and I needed to run some errands. While we were at the store, we determined that we were famished. While SuperTarget is super in its own respect, I wanted something different. Something awesome. Something unexpected. It wasn't in the freezer section or at a drive through. I remembered some obnoxious radio commercial about Regina's, and then recalled how a friend and I tried to go there a few weeks ago but then found out there was no wine and we ran away in tears. Well, I ran... she kind of just sat in the car and cried, but that's ok. I'd heard such good things, and we were so close to the restaurant. I could go one meal without wine, right? It's just one meal.

The first thing I noticed as we pulled up to the store front of Regina's is that there is no lighted sign. It would be easy to miss, if one wasn't looking for it specifically. We saw people inside, so we ventured on. The second thing I noticed about Regina's is the smell that overcomes you as you walk in the door. I've mentioned this before... the tomato, the garlic, the basil. The wonderful, fresh aromas permeated the air as the owner Dario welcomed us in and invited us to sit down. He explained how the restaurant worked, he showed us his grandmother's pasta machine, he waved to his mother who was serving another table. He joked with us and made us feel at home. Someone brought us fresh rolls and olive oil with garlic and basil for dipping.

I decided on the lobster ravioli with crab alfredo sauce, while my daughter opted for the garlic and herb pasta with marinara. We talked and ate bread, watched them put our pasta through grandma's machine. Things were starting to get exciting.

As we waited, we had time to look around the restaurant. It's very clean, with lamps made from shiny colanders, bright red walls and paintings and photos scattered  about. There are a handful of tables, maybe ten or so, and a small meeting room off to one side. Sinatra, Connick, and Martin play on the radio and set the mood perfectly. Relax.

One of the servers brings our dinner, more bread and more water. The servings are good sized, and the bowls are deeper than they look at first glance. Each plate has a bit of freshly grated parmesan on it, and there is no parmesan or salt and pepper on the tables. I actually would have liked more pepper in my sauce, but it was incredible without it as well. The raviolis were stuffed full of ricotta and lobster, and there was plenty of crab meat in the sauce. My daughter's pasta was delicious, although I admit I don't recall anything specific because I was kind of in an alfredo fog... at some point through the meal we decided that this was our new favorite restaurant. We ate as much as we could and then decided to share a limoncello marscapone cake for dessert. It was the perfect compliment to our meal, nice and light, not overly filling.

Wednesday dinner was a roaring success. I found out we could bring our own wine in, Dario invited us back, I said "See you tomorrow night" and we came home... to my son, who was pretty pissed that he didn't get the initial invite. Bah. Guess where we're going next week for dinner?

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