Pasta Wow! is a fast-casual spot that is fairly new in Margate, FL. Located in a Publix shopping center with a few other restaurants, their menu and concept is quite ambitious. Walking in, it’s new, clean and very sleek. Entering the front door and to your right is a large window so you can see all the equipment that they use to make the ‘fresh’ pasta (no dried pasta here) almost like it’s on display, which is kind of cool.
There are stools along a long counter if you choose to dine in and some tables outside (but who wants to face a wall). Once at the counter you get a glimpse of the menu and how to order – 1. Pick your pasta, 2. Pick your sauce, 3. Pick your protein…and you are done. Well…as you’ll see, there are a few more options that might get confusing to a first time visitor.
They offer the pick your own options as I stated above and also have some ‘premade’ cold salads behind the counter and you can also get ‘raw’ pasta to take home and cook yourself at a later time (and of course sauces) which can be quite the time saver. Cool idea.
We approached the counter and were greeted by a young lady. She asked if we were ready, but we had a few questions. They have so many different ‘styles’ of pasta shapes with names that sounded familiar, but we didn’t know which they were. We pointed to one of the cold pasta’s in the case as we wanted that shape and asked what kind of pasta that was. She responded “Oh, it’s cold pasta salad.” Not quite what we wanted to know. We asked what ‘type’ of pasta..she responded with the type of sauce…still not the name of the shape. Maybe it was our fault for not being specific. Finally I asked what kind of shape it was…and after a weird look from her, she said “Oh…it’s Rigatoni”. We both looked at each other and knew she was wrong. The one we were asking about was long like a spaghetti but hollow. Later to find out it was called Bucatini. This was obviously our first time here as we were a little lost on exactly how to order. Luckily, someone came to the front and kind of took over the interaction. I believe the original young lady was new and still ‘in training’ as he was walking her through things.
The guy that stepped in knew his stuff and was very enthusiastic about their product. He walked us through the ordering process. Jeff ordered the 1. Bucatini shape. Then you have a choice of what ‘kind of pasta’ from wheat, spinach, gluten free, tomato or salmolina – this really should be called ‘1a’ in the ordering process. Jeff chose spinach and was deciding on a sauce and the guy said “remember, you can mix any two sauces for free”. Cool! Hmmm…now which two go well together? This concept would be better if they had sample ‘pairings’. If you pick two that are just not in balance, you might not return, thinking the sauce wasn’t good…when in fact you made the wrong choice. Jeff ordered the Green Curry mixed with the Olive Pesto. Next was the protein and he went for the Beef Meatballs (they also have Turkey Meatballs). When I ordered, I had the system down – 1. Pappardelle, 1a. spinach, 2. Mushroom Ragu & Basil Pesto, 3. Chicken – egg battered (they also had sesame battered and pan seared). Other protein options are tofu and shrimp.
We went outside to relax and wait for our meal and enjoy the breeze. It didn’t take too long and they brought it out and set it down. WOW! is right! The portions are huge! The chicken was freshly made and was real white meat. The coating had a slight crisp texture (it’s an egg batter) and paired well with the sauce. The sauce was pesto…no question there. It was a bit oily, but that’s expected since olive oil is the main ingredient. The mushroom ragu and pesto went well together. I would probably skip the pesto next time as I felt it made the dish more heavy…and they did have a lot of sauce on this pasta. I was stuffed after only eating 1/4 of it and there was enough for another meal (or two). I’m sure you could even mix additional pasta to it and there is enough sauce to get even more out of it.
Jeff’s choice was also good, but a bit over sauced as well. The curry was slightly sweet which went well with the salty notes of the olive pesto. The meatballs were a bit spongy and I wasn’t a fan. I’d stick to the chicken for sure next time or try the shrimp. The pasta wasn’t overcooked on either dish so that’s a plus.
Overall, we think it’s a good spot to try. The ordering process could be a little smoother with some customer education since there are quite a few options here. We also suggest that they put sauce combo suggestions on the menu to help those customers that are not familiar with experimenting. Also, they should ask if you want the sauce on the side or maybe a lighter portion of sauce and maybe even a half portion of the pasta. Many people can’t take home left-overs or don’t want them.
You will definitely get a good value here and we even found a $5 off $20 coupon online so that made it even a better deal. The dessert pasta options might be a great option to hit on the way home and surprise the family too.
Pasta Wow! is located at 7372 West Atlantic Boulevard Margate, FL