On our first visit to Pasticcio Italian Kitchen & Bar (8811 Waltham Woods Rd., 410-665-0580), we are greeted by a friendly host and seated right away in a cozy corner booth in a dining room to the left of the entrance that also has a small bar.
The dining room is quiet, with low lighting, carpeting, vinyl tablecloths and padded chairs. There are two TVs in the room, set at a low volume, and there are five or six people at the bar. There is another dining room to the right of the entrance, filled with booths, and a carry-out area in the rear, behind the host podium.
Our server comes over to our table immediately and greets us with warm bread and butter. We order a glass of sparkling wine, Umberto Fiore Moscato d’Asti ($6), and mussels marinara ($7.99) for an appetizer. We choose spaghetti and meatballs ($10.99) and chicken parmesan ($13.99) for our entrees.
The mussels marinara arrives quickly, a large plate of steamed mussels bathed in a zesty marinara sauce sprinkled with oregano. The mussels are medium-sized, steaming hot and perfectly cooked. Our salads, which come automatically with our entrees, are served, and they are medium-sized garden salads, with cucumber, tomato, onions and pepperoncini served over crisp iceberg lettuce with the house dressing, which is oil and vinegar with Italian seasonings.
Our entrees arrive shortly after we are finished with our mussels. The spaghetti and meatballs is served in a large bowl, three large meatballs over a mound of spaghetti with lots of tomato sauce. The dish is not heavily seasoned, but the meatballs are tasty and piping hot, and parmesan cheese and hot pepper flakes are on the table, along with salt and pepper, so you can season to your own taste.
My chicken parmesan is pounded thin and fried well-done and crispy, with lots of browned mozzarella on top, a generous serving of marinara and a sprinkle of oregano. It comes with a huge helping of angel hair pasta on the side. When I had ordered, I asked the server whether she recommended the chicken parmesan or the chicken piccata, and she did not hesitate to recommend the parmesan. She certainly made a great recommendation!
The menu is extensive, full of traditional Italian fare as well as some creative spins on Italian food. Appetizers include bruschetta, clams casino and calamari; side orders include three kinds of fries, onion rings, meatballs, Italian sausage and wings; and salads include garden, Greek, Caesar, chef’s, tuna and chicken, and you can add grilled chicken or shrimp to any of those for a fee. The pasta entrees include ziti, manicotti and lasagna as well as spaghetti, penne, tortellini, and gnocchi and even lobster ravioli. There are several chicken and veal dishes with a variety of sauces including vodka and pesto. Pizza, subs, wraps and healthy fare with vegetables and whole wheat pasta round out the menu, offering something for everyone.
Pasticcio also has a fully stocked liquor bar and a very reasonable wine list with prices ranging from $18-$65. There are no draft beer choices, but that does not detract from the experience in any way. The bathrooms are very clean and well-lit, and the service is extremely attentive and fast. Pasticcio provides inexpensive, traditional Italian-American fare in a romantic atmosphere.