Friends invited us to have dinner last night at L'Impasto on Mass Ave in Cambridge. I have driven by this place many times and had seen quite a few reviews of it so I was looking forward to trying it. Overall we had a very positive experience and all of us agreed that it would be nice to return and try some of the other menu items.
L'Impasto is a very small restaurant and doesn't accept reservation but when we called to check they said if we called about 15 minutes before we arrived they would hold a table for us. I felt this was a very reasonable way to handle our request given the size of the restaurant so just before we left home we called and our table was ready when we got there.
The restaurant was about 2/3 full on Sunday evening at 7:00 PM and there was one server but the service was good throughout our meal.
We started by sharing two apps. One was a very nice Burrata wrapped with Prosciutto and served with cherry tomatoes, Balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The other was the Calamari Fritti. Both apps were well executed and a perfect way to begin dinner.
For the mains each of us chose something different. It seems that all the pastas are made on the premises and therefore make up most of the menu choices. There are also 5 or 6 apps and 3 entree choices.
I chose the Pacherri served in a delicious tomato sauce with mussels, clams and shrimp. Think of a classic Frutta Di Mare but the sauce had a deep seafood flavor to it and was sligh5tly spicy. It reminded me of similar dishes I have enjoyed in Italy. The Pacherri were rather large squares of pasta that were thick and chewy and went very well with the sauce and the seafood. It was also a very generous serving. My DC chose the Integrali with mushrooms. This came as a tangle of whole wheat pasta which had obviously been handmade with a creamy sauce with several types of fresh mushrooms. The sauce had a base on dried porcini mushrooms which gave it a very intense mushroom flavor.
One of our friends chose the Gnocchi with a lamb ragu and said several times how delicious it was. Due to a gluten allergy our other friend chose the daily special of grilled salmon with sauteed mushrooms. It arrived as a very generous serving of perfectly cooked salmon and a nice mixture of sauteed mushrooms. They even substituted a well made small mixed green salad for the potato fritter that is usually served with the dish because it contained flour.
I also have to comment on their breads. The Foccacia and the Olive Bread were both fantastic and as I noted in some other reviews would make going to L'Impasto worth it alone. Each table has a cruet of very flavorful olive oil and Balsamic vinegar f.or dipping. It would be very easy to O.D. on the bread while waiting for your meals to arrive.
For dessert we split an order of the Tiramisu which was very good but not the high point of the meal.
I will definitely be returning when I have a craving for well executed Italian food.