The crowds in front intrigued me every time I drove by this recently opened place (640 W. Valley, across from Brodard's), so I couldn't resist and paid a visit last night. Turns out that this is the first U.S. branch of a Taiwanese-based chain.
In a place like Alhambra, if the name "The Pasta Bar" conjures up images of Easternized versions of Italian pasta dishes, you would be right. Although the pastas are offered a la carte, the centerpieces of the menu are the complete meals with appetizer, soup, pasta entree, dessert and drink for $10 and up. Several choices are available for each of these items. The apps, soup and dessert are somewhat smallish but nicely presented. Interesting variety of drinks, some coffee-based, some tea-based, some slush-based. The pastas are built mostly from spaghetti. Sauces cater more to the Asian palate and accordingly are less heavily creamed than those often found in Italian dishes.
This place well fits the young Asians that comprise its typical clientele. Decor is modern, stylish and clean (gray and orange walls, halogen recessed lighting, etc.) with loud jazzy vocal music in the background. It's got a big city vibe to it but with an Asian twist. Service is definitely on the positive side, a lot better than what I've experienced elsewhere.
Overall, I wouldn't consider the food groundbreaking, but it's definitely a welcome and refreshing change from the numerous Asian restaurants in the area. Pretty good deal for a four course meal.
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