#ROCKSYRACUSE – I wanted to grab some lunch on Friday, and a trip to Anthony’s Pasta Bar was well overdue. Walking by the restaurant on a daily basis, I have noticed that the front room of this establishment is always filled. I popped my head in to check out the scene and the potential wait for takeout; I had to run errands during my lunch break, and my time was unfortunately limited.
The restaurant was warmly lit; it felt like a Friday date night in the middle of the day. Appearance is everything, and the pasta bar makes a great impression to those who have never been before. The rustic décor fulfilled by the dark, wooden furniture; and small, low-lit candles adds to the ambience of the classic Italian appeal. Making my way to the counter, the staff was very friendly, greeting with smiling faces and the courtesy to ask if they could help in any way. I asked for Anthony Manicone, the owner of the establishment, but he was busy keeping busy in the kitchen. The last few times I encountered Mr. Manicone on my visits, he was serving and speaking to customers, or he was outside checking up on the appearance of his business’ façade. Mr. Manicone is a man of many hats and takes significant pride in his business. You have to applaud that.
I was able to pop my head into the kitchen to set up a date December 1, 2012, and Anthony seemed more than amused at my wanting to write about his business, which resides at 126 E. Genesee Street. Walking out, I stopped by a table and asked a customer what is good here. The response: “I try to pick something new when I come in here. I have never had a bad meal here.”
That’s what we like to hear!
I kicked off my meal with Anthony’s Famous Utica Greens. When ordering food, there is one thing I have learned: there is no reason why anyone should resist ordering a dish that promotes or alludes to New York State in its title. Utica greens and Buffalo wings are those examples. If you have had Utica Greens before, you know exactly what you are about to eat, and you probably have your expectations. Anthony’s greens will not fail your tastes.
The plate of escarole greets you with chunks of sausage and pieces of prosciutto hidden within the breadcrumb-and-cheese-dusted and generously-sized small portion. Yes, the picture below displays only a small portion; large portions are available. The perfectly and notoriously bitter-green plate will not leave you feeling that way; there is a perfect slap of spice which blossoms in your mouth, and that feels like a high-five for taste buds.
The excitement got the best of me, and I almost forgot about the garlic rolls and dipping sauce the server brought out for me. Luckily, I devoured those with my meal, so I could ensure my having leftovers.
For starters and individual consumption (you won’t want to share any of these!), Anthony’s Pasta Bar offers soups and varieties of salads. Paninis and personal pizzas tease your interest as your eyes scroll down the menu. My personal favorite is the Mirella pizza, which is topped with the following: prosciutto, caramelized onions, goat cheese, roasted red peppers, marinara, and mozzarella.
I clearly spent too much time savoring my greens, because it wasn’t too long before my Shrimp Caprini came out.
Yes! This plate of huddled penne pasta, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and shrimp will warm any winter-chilled stomach. Not to worry, the pressure and weight of all the ingredients of this dish is padded by pillows of goat cheese. After eating this, I don’t know if I would have included any other variety of cheese; mozzarella could possibly work, but the sautéed shrimp pairs well with the goat cheese.
Anthony’s Pasta Bar is open every day except for Sunday, closing at 11. Not looking for dinner, but still want to enjoy a quality atmosphere? The Elbow Room Tavern is right next door. Stop in Mondays through Saturdays to cheer on your favorite sports teams, to play games of pool and darts, and you can choose from an extensive selection of great music in the digital jukebox. A pub fare menu is available to satisfy any craving. Don’t forget to wet your whistle from over 20 drafts, varieties of wine, and a favorable selection of liquor. How can you resist a warm and classy, comfortable atmosphere to spend quality time with your friends?
Whether you want to enjoy a family night out (kids included!), if you want to show off to your out-of-town family and friends, or if you want a great restaurant for a date: Anthony’s will cater to your every need. Yes, Mr. Manicone’s restaurant does offer a catering menu as well!
If you have any questions about indulging at Anthony’s Pasta Bar, information can be found easily at http://www.anthonyspastabar.com. The Elbow Room Tavern’s website can be found at http://elbowroomtavern.com/.
Christopher Malone, a life-long resident of Syracuse, is a contributing writer to Project Rock City. An avid writer and asipring novelist, he feels more than comfortable promoting Central New York. Chris can be found on Facebook and Twitter (@Chris___Malone). Feel free to enjoy his other blogs at http://www.sporadicattic.com/ (fiction) and http://theinfiniteabysses.