Rasta Pasta is one of the new noodle joints opening by campus. It has recently started accepting Bevo Bucks and that prompted my interest in trying the place out. It is right next to Crave, which is on the corner of the Drag and 21st street. Easily accessible from campus, it’s nice to have a new pasta place to eat.
Rasta Pasta instantly popped with flavor as the walls are painted in yellow, green, and red. Jamaican-inspired art and flags hang upon the walls. A sort of Tiki bar sits in the back of the restaurant. You sit down at a table and your waiter comes to pick up your drink and food orders. A nice addition is that if you come for dinner, you automatically get a small side salad and garlic bread.
The salad was a standard lettuce mix and you had the choice of a sundried tomato sauce or a green chile vinaigrette sauce. I personally got the sundried tomato sauce and it was interesting on top of the salad. Think of a sweetened and slightly cheesy tomato sauce on top of plain salad. I didn’t hate it, but I can’t say I loved it either. It was fun to try something different though. The green chile vinaigrette sauce was rather watery and smelled strongly of vinegar, hearkening back to tastes that are more usual on pasta. It was deemed OK. The garlic bread was pretty good and very buttery, but I kind of wished it was a little crunchier.
I personally got the Chicken Montego Bay and it was pretty good. It was like Fettuccine Alfredo with chicken, but a lot spicier and more peppery. Definitely not too salty. It was also different with the sweet taste from the pineapple. At first, I thought there was no pineapple, but I could definitely taste it. Apparently, the pineapple was small chunks that looked like they were the canned kind instead of fresh or big pineapple slices like I expected. They were tasty, nonetheless, and the flavor did come out with the dish. The jerk chicken didn’t taste especially spiced either, but I was pleased with the dish and I felt the wine cream sauce was not too heavy. The large amounts of fresh vegetables in the dish were also nice compared to the many other dishes on the Drag that are very light on the vegetables. The serving is very big, definitely able to fill up a big appetite or provide multiple meals for a small appetite.
My roommate decided on the spaghetti with garlic and herb sauce. A simple nice pasta dish. It was delicious and she compared it kind of to a pizza, probably because of the strong oregano taste in the pasta. It was yummy, but admittedly a little plain. Good though if you want to not be too experimental, but try something different.
The rest of our group tried the Rasta Pasta. It was definitely unique and as they said “unusual.” The pasta has a sort of secondary heat that builds with each bite. One bite, though, will not burn your taste buds. I am not really sure how to describe the dish except that it was very spicy and you mostly tasted the tomato and garlic. The chicken was shredded and added a nice protein, but everything in the dish was overwhelmed by the sauce.
In terms of service and hygiene, I have to give this place a low score. 😦 Our server was nice and it seemed like he was working a lot of tables at once, but he was awfully slow. He accidentally spilled some vinaigrette on one of our backpacks and his bracelet kept touching our food. Yuck! In terms of hygiene, it was unfortunate that I did not realize until I was putting my food into a box that there was a hair in one of the pastas and some plastic as well. Double yuck!
Overall, the food was interesting and different (fruit + pasta abounds!) and the ambience is very friendly and good for groups. The food servings are large, but depending on how much you like the flavor will determine if you think you got the full value of your meal which averages at over $10 each. The service and hygiene is lacking. I think with time and some cleaning up, Rasta Pasta could be a different experience on the Drag, we’ll just have to see how long that is.
Rating: 😛 😛 for different and unique dishes, but lack of hygiene and service.