Pronto Pasta, San Rafael, Marin, CA
NEWS December 6th 2004
Pronto Pasta has reopned today as Seafood and Pasta Kitchen
I have had a lot of search engine referrals in the last week from surfers looking for Pronto Pasta. This is proably because just over a week ago it finally closed down after Franco and Cristina's delayed departure. It is currently being refurbished and there is a makshift "reopening soon" sign stuck to the window. We drive past every couple of days, so as soon as we notice its open again I'll post here. We'll undoubtedly give it a try shortly thereafter to check the new owner's take on the place so please return in the future to look for our review.
Due to a delay in transferring Pronto Pasta to new owners, Franco and his wife will now remain there until October 4th, they told me this week.
783 Anderson Drive, San Rafael, Marin, CA
This week was husband-and-wife team Franco and Cristina's last at the helm of my favourite weekday lunch spot.
As such, I insisted to F that we eat there twice this week. Pronto Pasta is in an unlikely location, overlooking a parking lot and a Porsche repair garage. Nevertheless it has attracted a faithful following of customers due to the very reasonable prices, fresh ingredients and mostly excellent homestyle cooking.
On Wednesday I had the special, a spaghetti with clams. Plentiful, juicy, fat little clams in their shells were scattered through the perfectly al dente pasta simply flavoured with a minimalist broth of tomato, garlic, chili flakes, parsley, oil, seasoning and the clams' juices. It was a knockout bowl of pasta, absolutely perfect. As I ate it, I couldn't help feeling a little sadness that this fabulous dish would be one of my last meals cooked by Franco.
On Friday we returned for what really would be our last lunch. Friday's Specials (Pronto Pasta has always had at least three Specials per day) did not lure either F or myself so we each decided to pick our favourite dishes from the regular menu. F chose the rich tortellini with a cream sauce pictured above. Despite F's incredible constitution that seems perfectly able to survive on a diet of only fat, dairy, carbs, meat and alcohol, even he was feeling the effects of the richness of this meal by mid afternoon. (But he wouldn't tell me if he fell asleep at work or not.)
I often like to choose the Anti-Pasta as a meal at Pronto. Each time it is slightly different and I like the element of surprise. Today, the selection included mortadella, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, olives, large thick-cut slices of heirloom tomato topped with fresh mozzarella and anchovies, bruschetta crowned with garlicky pesto, tomatoes and cheese, grilled squash plus a wonderful pile of chestnut and shitake mushrooms sauteed with sundried tomatoes, one of my favourites.
Franco and Cristina are moving their family to Chili where they plan to become Heirloom Tomato farmers. Before leaving we went to the kitchen at the back of the restaurant to say goodbye and thank Franco for all the wonderful lunches we'd had over the two or so years he had been chef. He even gave us his new address and insited we visit if we ever happened to find ourselves in that area of South America.
Anti Pasta $9.50
Pronto Pasta News:
The word is that Pronto Pasta will not close as initially reported. Rumours suggest the place has been bought by a young Aqua-trained Chef who intends to keep the same name and style of restaurant, whilst adding to the menu with some signature dishes of his own. We will test it out soon and report back.
Check out a previous Pronto Pasta post here Pronto Pasta, San Rafael, Marin, CA