I’m almost afraid to write a review of an Italian restaurant that is south of Harrison County. There is no denying that heart of West Virginia’s Italian population lies in the north central part of our state. Unfortunately, I don’t eat all my meals in the Mountaineer Highlands and must get my pasta fix in other places. During a recent trip to Beckley I had an opportunity to dine with friends at Pasquale’s.
This wasn’t my first meal at Pasquale’s. I have enjoyed lunch on the patio and in the comfortable dining room. You will find Pasquale’s off the Harper Road exit of the WV Turnpike. It isn’t hard to spot in front of the Days Inn. We arrived around 6:30 PM on a very snowy Tuesday evening and were seated immediately. I sipped a nice Chianti while I reviewed the menu. Since there was not an entree of liver and fava beans I decided to focus on the pasta dishes. I avoided getting a red sauce dish. If you went to ten different Italian restaurants you would get ten different versions of red sauce, meat and marinara. Everybody has an opinion, too. The Vegetarian Wife, 1/2 Italian (the stubborn half), likes a tart tomato flavor. I like a sweet, cooked all day long flavor. Who is right? Eat what you enjoy is what I say.
You can review Pasquale’s menu on their website. They have a full range of traditional pasta dishes including Pasta al Pesto and Pasta Algia E Olio. You can also indulge in one of twelve baked pasta dishes like Baked Zita Pasquale Ricotta. Now there is always one in the group that doesn’t like noodles. Maybe it is a WWII veteran that marched with Patton’s Army during the Sicily campaign or they are a low carb’er. Whatever the reason Pasquale’s has steaks, chops, seafood and pizza. I asked the server about two dishes. One was the Spaghetti Diavolo, which is a spicy marinara sauce. The other and my choice for dinner was the Pasta alla Carabonara.
My pasta came with a small chopped salad with house dressing. The house dressing is one of the best Italian dressings you’ll ever eat. Served in a soup bowl, the salad appears small but there is more than enough to whet your appetite for the forthcoming entree.
I think pastas that are going to be tossed in a sauce should have some surface area. This surface area is needed to hold onto the artfully crafted carbonara sauce. Even though Carbonara is usually served with spaghetti, I went with linguine and a 2nd glass of Chianti for $4.50. Carbonara sauce has whole egg, cured pork and some combination of hard cheese, usually parmesan and pecorino. I enjoyed Pasquale’s interpretation of this coal miner’s spaghetti. The portion was fair. It wasn’t huge. It was just enough for $11.95.
In my company tonight was a full blooded Italian from Farmington,WV. (It wasn’t him.) She ordered lasagna and a meatball to taste. She likes to taste the many versions of Italian meatballs. Her portion of lasagna was huge and very tasty. The meatball was interesting. I wish I would have asked a few questions. It was very tender, which led me to make a couple of assumptions. First, the meat was finely ground. Second, I believe it contained both beef and veal. Finally, since these balls were 2.5 inches in diameter, I think that they are baked in a water bath to keep the outside from burning before the inside is fully cooked. I could be totally wrong and I’m sure that someone will correct me.
I didn’t have dessert tonight, but they do make a good Tiramisu. I have had it more than once. You should try it too the next time you’re in Beckley. Pasquale’s gets FOUR Forks from me.
224 Harper Park Dr