Mario’s Trattoria gets a 1-UP with Vegan Pasta

Mario's Trattoria Rigatoni Pomodoro nyc

Hell’s Kitchen in NYC can be quite literally, a hell for vegans, what with its limited selection of vegan eats. But on a recent outing, I discovered that even hell can have a silver lining… in the form of comforting Italian food.

Ambiance –

Cozy, warm and intimate are three synonyms that sum up this restaurant perfectly.
Cozy, warm and intimate are three synonyms that sum up this restaurant perfectly.

Being half frozen and starving on 9th avenue, I gravitated to Mario’s Trattoria like a moth to flame. It helps that their ambiance is that of a cosy one… like an undiscovered Italian nook, outfitted with a red-brick interior and wooden furniture. Perfect for a casual, intimate and familiar dining experience.

Service –

Right away, we were seated and given plenty of time to peruse the appropriately compact menu —  no six pages-long eyesore here! I told them I was vegan, and the waiter immediately suggested the Rigatoni Pomodori for me, which I ordered, of course! the service in general was friendly, helpful and unhurried, which was refreshing.


Garlic Knots –

Kinda smallish for $5, wouldn't you say?
Kinda smallish for $5, wouldn’t you say?

I’m always wary of ordering garlic knots, mostly because I hate it when they use garlic powder instead of real, fresh garlic. This time, I asked if they do use real garlic, and yes! They do!

The knots were a bit small for me though… at $5.00 for five pieces ($1 apiece!), I expected some sizable knots. They were just a bit too puny for me. Flavorwise, I have no complaints, the knots kind of satisfied my craving for ’em and plenty of garlic oil was added to grease ’em up a bit.

Entrée –  

Rigatoni Pomodori –

Just goes to show you what fresh ingredients can do for a plate of simple pasta!
Just goes to show you what fresh ingredients can do for a plate of simple pasta!

Me and pasta have always been best of friends, so it’s no surprise that I really enjoyed this dish. The rigatoni was cooked perfectly, not too mushy/firm. The tomato sauce tasted fresh and had plenty of tangy tomato chunks scattered throughout. Garlic, olive oil, fresh chopped basil and sautéed spinach elevated the dish to one super-satiating meal. Overall, it definitely hit the spot, though it didn’t blow me away.

Bottom line – If I’m ever out on 9th ave and 37th street again and in need of a bite to eat, I’ll definitely re-visit Mario’s Trattoria again… but I wouldn’t go out of my way to come back.

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