I am not sure that this really constitutes a restaurant review because the main reason Lynda and I go to Lotsa Pasta is not the restaurant, such as it is, but to buy fresh pasta and sauces to prepare at home from the international food store that makes up the greater portion of the building. That disclaimer out of the way, we did partake of a couple of sandwiches there this past Saturday.
The store and attached dining room are located at the far east end of Lexington Road, just down the street from the old Vogue Theater. There is on-street parking out front, but I recommend turning in to the parking lot between Lotsa Pasta and the Vogue. Lotsa Pasta’s parking spaces are right on Lexington Road and with the the heavy traffic there, it can be a real pain trying to back out when it is time to leave. This especially true, since every time I have been there or driven past, there is usually a huge dreadnaught, er, SUV or two parked there, so you couldn’t see to back out safely if you wanted to. (Yes, I drive a SUV, but it is an itty-bitty one.)
As I said previously, the food store occupies most of the building, with a small dining room in a front corner, well segregated from the rest of the store, with a few tables outside in warmer weather. You don’t actually order your meal in the dining area; instead you go back to the deli counter in the store and place your order and return to the dining area to wait for them to bring your order to you. They offer a selection of sandwiches, both sub-style on a baguette ($5 or $5.50) or panini-style ($5.75) on a square focaccia roll and a variety salads. (The menu prices on their website is out of date at the time of this writing.) They have some bottled drinks in a small cooler in the dining room by the cashier.
Lynda ordered an Italian Sub ($5.50) which has Genova, Pepperoni, Hot Capocolla and mild Provolone on a crusty Italian bread with an olive oil/herb dressing, lettuce, tomato and I think she also had the optional onions on it. She said it was very tasty, full of flavor, but the bread was so crusty, that it hurt her mouth when she bit into it, and though she said she would order it again, she would only do so if she could order it on softer bread that didn’t shred the inside of her mouth. She washed it down with a bottle of Orange Pellegrino water.
I ordered the Fresh Mozzarella sandwich — normally a $5 sandwich, but I got it as a panini for $5.75 — which has a THICK cut of fresh buffalo Mozzarella cheese and thinly sliced tomatoes on a large focaccia roll, to which I had them add an ample smear of pesto. It was certainly flavorful, but I am not sure I would order it again, but if I do, it will not be as a panini as the roll came out just a little too hard. I had a cold bottle diet Stewart’s Root Beer with my lunch.
We opted on this visit to try something from the pastry counter by the cashier for dessert. Lynda had a blackberry strudel and I just got a blueberry muffin. Lynda seem to enjoy hers, but mine was really nothing special.
The dining room itself is small to the point of being claustrophobic and really seems to just be a place to seat patrons who might get hungry while perusing all the tasty foods in the store, kind of like the little lunch counters in department stores that I remember from when I was a kid. They seem to have tried for an Italianate theme when they decorated, with the walls washed in the same shades that Italian restaurants use in an attempt to emulate an Tuscan villa and accented them with weathered wrought-iron pieces that look like they may have been part of someone’s fancy fence in an earlier life.
If one were to judge the business by the store alone, it would probably rate a 10 from us, with all the wonderful foods you can find there. From their fresh pastas and sauces, to their extensive selection of cheeses, there may not be a better little food shop in Louisville. However, as a restaurant I found the place a little limited, with not a great selection to choose from and very minimal service — you order, they bring the food and forget about you. Still, dining here may be a necessary evil, for if you go in to shop at the store, you may wind up buying everything if you don’t eat first.
7 stars out of 10.3717 Lexington Road