There is a brief (three) selection of traditional entrées. I tried the salmon roasted in the wood-burning oven. This brought a beautiful piece of fish, one side of the exterior browned crisp, seasonably seasoned with lemon and capers and served with roasted cauliflower and new potatoes. The only appetizers, per se, are roasted-radish bruschetta and the "Crispy Risotto Balls," miniature arancini thick with gooey melted cheese. I rarely get excited about salad, but the shaved kale salad, with pecorino cheese and an anchovy dressing, is the best (non-Caesar) Caesar salad I've ever had.

Though its Clayton location draws business-suited expense-account types and Craft's track record entrances those millennial foodies who need a sommelier to pair each course with the appropriate Instagram filter, Pastaria is by design and price a casual spot more than welcoming to families. There's even a kid's menu: spaghetti in tomato or meat sauce; a cheese pizza; mac & cheese.

But if you bring your kids to Pastaria, I have a suggestion. Skip the kid's menu and, if you've overlooked it for your own choice, order them the chitarra. It really isn't that different from a plate of buttered noodles. Its beauty and charm is its simplicity: the lightly chewy pasta coated with the fruity, nutty oil, the garlic softened to a very mild bite, just a pinch of chile heat.

Shaved kale salad with creamy anchovy dressing, pecorino and breadcrumbs. Slideshow: Pastaria in Clayton Photos
Jennifer Silverberg
Shaved kale salad with creamy anchovy dressing, pecorino and breadcrumbs. Slideshow: Pastaria in Clayton Photos
"The Roman" pizza: tomato, garlic, bacon, mozzarella, pecorino, chiles. Slideshow: Pastaria in Clayton Photos
Jennifer Silverberg
"The Roman" pizza: tomato, garlic, bacon, mozzarella, pecorino, chiles. Slideshow: Pastaria in Clayton Photos

Location Info

Map

Pastaria

7734 Forsyth Blvd.
St Louis, MO 63105

Category: Restaurant > Contemporary

Region: Clayton

Details

Pastaria
Chitarra...$10.95
Brussels sprouts pizza...$12.95
Pistachio ravioli........$15.95
7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-6603.
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu., 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Fri., 5-11 p.m. Sat., 5-9 p.m. Sun.

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Which is why the chitarra is so exciting: It's the perfect introduction to what simple, casual and affordable Italian food should be, not the limp, oversauced slop it all too often is. This jaded reviewer, a picky brat in bigger clothes, scarfed down every last bite.

Slideshow: Pastaria in Clayton Photos

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