Top Ten Dishes 2012 #2: Chitarra at Pastaria

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I'm counting down the top ten dishes from the new restaurants that I reviewed in 2012. Read the complete series to date.

Pasta makers Greg Reece and Mike McManus at work at Pastaria. - JENNIFER SILVERBERG
  • Jennifer Silverberg
  • Pasta makers Greg Reece and Mike McManus at work at Pastaria.

#2. Chitarra at Pastaria (7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-6603)

You could easily overlook the most exciting dish at Pastaria. The menu calls it simply "Chitarra" and offers no further description aside from a list of the supporting ingredients: olive oil, garlic, chile. In this case, though, such a list is apt because the dish brings nothing but strands of pasta alla chitarra tossed with olive oil, slivered garlic and chile-pepper flakes. 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. 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.

-- from "Using Their Noodles" (December 13, 2012)

Previously:

#3: Steak tartare at Little Country Gentleman #4: The "Pork Porterhouse" at Cleveland-Heath #5: Grilled quail at Blood & Sand #6: "Spicy Wonton Soup" at Famous Szechuan Pavilion #7: Pho at St. Louis Pho #8: "Dad's Green-Chile Cheeseburger" at Five Star Burgers #9: The pambazo at Siete Luminarias #10: The oatmeal cream pie at Pint Size Bakery & Coffee

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