Thursday, May 24, 2018

Orto Artisan Pasta


Orto Artisan Pasta is a cute little Italian restaurant in North Vancouver offering pasta made from scratch. The restaurant is on the smaller side and reservations are only accepted for parties greater than six. However the parking lot is transformed into a patio for outdoor seating and you can sit in the garden. The garden where vegetables are grown for their kitchen!

Before arriving on a Sunday evening, I was advised through the phone that there will be no wait as long as we sit at the patio. Guaranteed. We ended up waiting 30 minutes though and it was disappointing to see that the same table which was available when we first arrived at the restaurant was the same table we were seated at. I get hangry way too easily...


ROSE, PROSECCO, MINT ($9.00?)
Starting off the evening well, this was a great drink. Highly recommended. And I don't recommend alcoholic beverages often.

WAGYU BEEF CARPACCIO ($14.00).
When all the appetizers arrived, we started with the carpaccio. The slices of wagyu were very lean, chewy, not very marbled and the worst cut I have ever had.

BAD DOG BREAD WITH CARAMELIZED ONION BUTTER, BLACK BEAN TAPENADE, EVOO ($7.00).
Next up is the Bad Dog Bread from a local bakery in North Vancouver, which we didn't intend on ordering because at $7.00 I would've honestly preferred in-house bread. Although when our server asked if we wanted bread after placing our order... why not? This may not be a true representation of the bread because we didn't purchase it directly from the bakery, but it wasn't the best. The crumb was dry and the crust was tough. As for the accompaniments, the tapenade was well salted and the fluffy along with buttery onion butter tasted great. The evoo was very flat and could've used some salt imo.

ZUCCHINI FRITTERS ($6.00). 
The following appetizer is not the type of Italian zucchini fritters I had hoped for and resembled zucchini tempura more. The zucchini was a touch overcooked, almost mushy and the batter wasn't crispy.


CAULIFLOWER FRITELLA ($6.00).
The last of the appetizers is the cauliflower, which tasted great. I loved that the pesto exhibited a good balance of acidity and it wasn't too salty. I hate to sound like a broken record, but again a touch too soft (although not as mushy as the zucchini).


SQUID INK TAGLIONI, CRAB, SCALLOP AND PRAWN ($25.00).
Moving to the pastas, the taglioni lacked a squid ink flavour and the pasta was clumpy along with mushy. For the best squid ink pasta itself, I have to recommend La Terraza for such great flavours. In general I can understand why restaurants may be hesitant on using more squid ink in case it's off putting for some palettes, but unfortunately this was just bland.

As for the seafood, there were mild hints of flavours but the proteins were overcooked. Stiff prawns (but buttery, yum) and scallop, and literally not much crab meat throughout the pasta. I appreciated our server for insisting us to pack this home when we paid for the bill, but it really wasn't the best.

PAPPARDELLE BOLOGNESE ($19.00).
Continuing along is the bolognese without much meat sauce. Since pappardelle is a lot thicker than taglioni, it wasn't as clumpy or mushy. The pasta was a touch cooked past al dente as well, but still better than the former.

On top of the little amount of meat we had, there was a hint of spice and a nice meaty flavour, but we would've liked more sauce. 

RICOTTA RAVIOLI WITH PEA SHOOTS, LOVAGE BUTTER AND IKURA ($20.00).
The last and best dish from the evening goes to the ravioli! The well executed ravioli was bang on. Al dente ravioli with a burst of creaminess and a perfect level of saltiness from the ikura. I mean, even without the ikura it would've tasted great. Great flavours on the lovage butter too.

In the end, I had really high expectations for Orto whether it was myself that hyped the restaurant or the Yelp reviews I read. Okay, well honestly it was a photo I saw online featuring their pasta with black shaved truffle. After seeing that one photo, I KNEW I had to come here. Unfortunately it was only a feature and there were no features on the evening we went. In regards to the service, I can't believe there was no service. All the appetizers arrived at once (I would've liked the bread first considering it took a long time for the appies to arrive), no finished plates were cleared so no table space was available when the pastas came out, and no one asked how the food was. Not one single person asked how our meal was. I love the concept of Orto's outdoor garden and housemade pasta, but neither the food overall nor experience was positive enough for me to revisit.

POSITIVES
- Great ravioli
- Housemade pasta

NEGATIVES
- No service
- Majorty of the dishes were overdone

Orto Artisan Pasta
1600 Mackay Road North Vancouver, BC V7P 2M
Telephone (604) 929-0203
https://ortoartisanpasta.com

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