Pastablitz holds on in White Marsh

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Pastablitz of White Marsh has held on for more than three years in the slightly forlorn Honeygo Square shopping center, which has a few vacant storefronts and a lot of business turnover.

If our recent visit was an indication, the restaurant has survived in its less-than-fantastic location with an inviting interior, good service and decent, if not spectacular, food. Pastablitz shares a name and general approach with two other Pastablitz outposts in Howard County, although the one in White Marsh is separately run.

The eclectic decor includes a toboggan on one wall and black-and-white stills from Italian movies, including La Dolce Vita, on another. Green and pink neon lights give the room a mellow feel.

The eatery caters to both sit-down diners and us carryout types with a menu heavy on pizza, pasta, subs and salads. During our visit, a group of teen-agers munched on subs and fries at one table; an elderly couple sat nearby, nursing a bottle of wine they had brought in to share, because Pastablitz does not have a liquor license. The service was so swift that I didn't even have time to try out the video poker machine in the back.

We tried three different pasta dishes; two were solid. Penne Arrabbiata ($7.95) featured a zingy fresh tomato sauce heavy on garlic and red pepper. The chicken piccata ($10.45) included two pieces of pounded breast meat over spaghetti in a delicious lemon-caper sauce, and topped with good-quality parmesan cheese. Unfortunately, a very traditional lasagna ($9.45) seemed a little saggy and had too much cheese.

A small, plain pizza ($7.95) was undercooked, which led to the dreaded cheese-oozing phenomenon, in which the cheese slides off the crust. We cooked it a while longer in the oven at home, which helped some.

Italian wedding soup ($3.95) brought together chunks of meatballs, spinach, bits of egg, chicken and an inordinate amount of olive oil. And a chef's salad ($5.95) was a medley of pink and yellow - cold cuts and cheese smothering a small layer of lettuce and tomato slices.

The only dessert was a cannoli ($3.95), which had a grainy sweetness that was quite appealing.

Pastablitz

Food: ** 1/2

Service: *** 1/2

Waiting area: ***

Parking: ***

Where: 11550 Philadelphia Road, White Marsh

Phone: 410-529-6900

Hours: noon to 9 p.m. Sunday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Prices: Subs, salads, pasta, pizza and entrees, $3.50 to $14.95; credit cards accepted

Outstanding: ****; Good: ***; Fair or uneven: **; Poor: *

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