Pasta E Pani is a local, family-owned business and has been in Virginia Beach for years. The décor was modest and unassuming, providing a style of Italy. The service was beyond awesome. Again, this is a family and it is obvious they love what they are doing. The owners, Chef Angelo Serpe and wife, Maria, are regular vendors at the Old Beach Farmers Market every weekend. Whenever we go, we get some pasta, bread and fresh cheese.
Everything is made from scratch including the pasta and breads. When we came they recognized us from the farmers market and came up to talk like we were part of their extended family. Given the number of people that pass through the market each Saturday, to remember two customers who pass through by faces alone shows a thoughtfulness seldom found in today’s society.
We started with our Antipasti of Beet Salad and fresh Mozzarella with basil and an olive oil and Balsamic drizzle. The beets were prepared perfectly and added a tasty twist to the typical caprese salad. Chef Serpe made the Mozzarella cheese fresh that morning and the creaminess worked very well with the earthy beets and the zing of the balsamic.
Chris had the Spaghettini Positano which is Shrimp, Calamari and Clams in a Garlic & Tomato sauce.
CV: I could taste every ingredient in the dish and every component was perfectly cooked. Nothing was under or over cooked which is difficult to manage with the range of cook times for each type of seafood. I ended up requesting more bread so that I could mop up every bit of the sauce. The balance of the seafood along with the pasta was perfect. I did not have to take bites of pasta only to provide a balance of the proteins throughout the dish. I could enjoy protein with every bite.
Kathy had the pasta with pancetta, peas, and cream sauce with Parmigiano Reggiano.
KV: When we first walked into the restaurant, I noticed a large wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano and inquired about it. Chef Serpe, a native of Italy, explained that he had an old friend in Italy hand pick the wheel and had it shipped to him so that he could specifically prepare a certain dish. He came back to our table a few moments later with a few pieces of the cheese for us to enjoy. Umami in a straightforward delicious punch. Unbelievably delicious. The thought that a chef would go through such an act for authenticity struck me with an awe that I must taste that dish.
Essentially, the pasta, pancetta, peas and cream sauce are poured into the wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano. The mixture is then tossed and scraped out onto the dinner plate so that shaved curls of cheese envelope the pasta. It was excellent. The cheese was, as predicted, unbelievably delicious. The peas added pops of freshness.
All the deserts are hand made on location and we chose to have the Cheesecake with strawberries. It was creamy, not too sweet, not too dense, not too airy, and exactly what you in a cheesecake. The strawberries added a balanced counterpoint. All in all a very enjoyable way to end a meal.