Date of Review: Jun. 2004
Note: This restaurant is closed, but the original Pasta Cafe in Roswell is still open (see their web site). The address in Roswell is 1208 N. Main St.
There were several things about the restaurant in Ruidoso that caused me to write this “updated” review, with the idea that some readers may wish to check out the restaurant in Roswell, New Mexico. One, of course, is the food. I did not have a very good experience with the mushroom marsala (it didn’t make me sick or anything, I just thought it had a strange flavor). Other items, though were quite notable. The chicken cacciatore had a sauce that I really enjoyed (although I just sampled a couple of bites of it). The salad was excellent as well, and overall it seemed to be a very good restaurant.
A couple of other notable things about the restaurant, though, were interrelated. The service was good in a way that made the meal better, and not in a way that I just thought they were trying to get a good tip. Pasta Cafe is noted for its wine list, and for us they suggested what I thought was a very special Italian wine at a very special price (being especially low for this type of wine).
Maybe Pasta Cafe now suffers from being in a town that is off the beaten path for tourists (despite the fact that many people want to see the UFO Museum in Roswell). Even for those just passing through Roswell on the way to somewhere else, though, it might be worthwhile to try the food at Pasta Cafe (and I would suggest the wine also).
Another update: at the time Pasta Cafe was a mini-chain, with restaurants in Roswell, Carlsbad, and Ruidoso. Now they are just operating the one in Roswell.
I also wish to elaborate on the statement that Pasta Cafe had “average food” by saying that the chicken cacciatore and salad were much better than average.
Review of the Ruidoso Restaurant:
Pasta Cafe is a New Mexico mini-chain of medium priced and quality Italian food. Actually if you order a salad (and especially if you order wine) it will fall in the expensive category, however these items are some of the best features of the restaurant.
The Salad was fresh with a delicious house dressing. It is actually rather difficult to find decent salads in the Southwest that live up to the quality routinely found in other parts of the country, but the one at Pasta Cafe fit the bill.
Some great wine is also served. The waiter suggested an Italian wine of which they had received a special shipment, and I will have to say that it was a special treat for me. Although it was not cheap, it seemed bargain priced considering its excellent flavor.
I sampled three entrées, with the Chicken Cacciatore being by far the best (and highly recommended).
The Ravioli was about average for good Italian restaurants, with a tomato sauce containing few spices.
My order of Mushroom Marsala was not what I had hoped or expected it to be. It had a strange flavor, and I just did not think it was good like the other two dishes. Since I was unfamiliar with marsala it was not clear how much was attributable to an error in preparation and how much would have occurred with any version of this dish. Other types of food cooked in wine, however, have not been as unappetizing to me as this one.
While the chicken was quite good, the other two entrées made me think that Pasta Cafe was a mid-range Italian restaurant with average food. The salad and wine, however, definitely seem to be worth seeking out. Service was good, and portion sizes were comfortable (not with over the top quantities of food that either make me uncomfortable or lead me to take some of it home as leftovers). I have thought many times about the Italian wine and wished I could find something of equal quality at other Italian restaurants.