Chef AJ Swanda is the Executive Chef at the newly opened Bruno’s Pasta Company at 129th & Maple streets. This is truly an enjoyable and delicious dining experience. The space has been freshened with bright and vibrant colors It is open, but with enough privacy that you aren’t able to hear other guests dinner conversation.
We were quickly seated and our water glasses were filled. We caught the tail-end of Happy Hour and received house wine ($4) and Peroni Italian beer ($3) with those prices being honored rest of the night. Rick tried his dark Even More Coco Jesus by Evil Twin Brewing, an Imperial Stout with maple syrup and coconut added. (Thank you coco jesus for saving us from other beer sins…..). Rick loved his selection.
Our server explained the ‘shared plate concept’ promoted by Chef Swanda. Portions are generous and ample to share and therefore, try multiple items. There are appetizers (antipasto), salads and soups (ensalata), Brick-oven pizza, homemade pastas and sandwiches, entrees and desserts! Quite an ambitious menu.
House bread with chili infused olive oil and balsamic vinegar was served as we made our food plan. Yum. We started with Bruschetta and Prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe wedges over whipped honey ricotta cheese. All quite tasty.
Rick ordered a Chicken Parmesan sandwich with homemade kettle fries. Jim ordered a meatball sandwich with the homemade kettle fries. (Prices about $11). Both were completely satisfied with their selections. The sandwiches are generous portions. The Kettle Chips were crisp, not greasy and fantastic flavor perfectly seasoned. Jim ordered a side of Crispy Smashed potatoes which were seasoned with rosemary and Romano ($7). A generous portion was shared around the table then the majority taken home for another meal.
Patty tried the Rigatoni Bolognese ($13) and Sarah ordered the Buccatini Carbonara ($15). Portions were generous enough for all to share bites with plenty to fill one up and possibly have some for lunch tomorrow. We ordered a side of Fried Brussel Sprouts ($8) with garlic butter, black peppers and capers. Even a Brussel Sprouts lover may have enjoyed these. And again, the portion was large with plenty to share and take home the extras.
The wait staff was friendly but at times missing in action. Our water glasses were often empty and even after asking for a refill, a long time may go by before we’d see the wait staff again and prompt a water refill. This is a new establishment and they are definitely working on staffing issues. All staff were pleasant and hustling. They just need more staff.
SUMMARY: Chef Swanda has a good thing going and this is worth your time and money to go. But go hungry or with a crowd and order less food than we did. Or get a to-go box and plan on lunch tomorrow.
Bruno’s Pasta is open seven days a week from 10 AM until 10 PM.