“You Can’t Buy Happiness, But You Can Buy a Bowl of Pasta,” reads the sandwich board outside of LaRina Pastificio & Vino, a Fort Greene newcomer from the Aita team. “And That is Pretty Much the Same Thing.”
Our sentiments exactly. And while pro-gluten passions have been running high these past couple of years (thanks largely to locally grown and hand-milled grain enthusiasts like Faro, Gristmill and Brooklyn Bread Lab), it’s a pleasure to see pasta once again take center stage–and we’re talking the real deal wheat-based stuff–not brown rice spaghetti, zucchini fettuccini, or spiralized beets.
And truly, there’s no better duo to lead us all into the light than chef Silvia Barban–formerly of Chelsea Market’s Giovanni Rana–and co-owner Guilia Pellicionni, whose grandmother, Rina (for whom the restaurant is named) ran her very own pasta shop in Emilia Romagna. Fashioned in house daily with organic flour, Barban’s impressive selection comprises over half of the menu–think strands of black ink bucatini bound with breadcrumbs and mellow Cantabrico anchovies, chubby shells of buckwheat conchiglie coated in ‘nduja and mounded with slippery smoked eggplant, and golden cones of lemon gigli tossed with duck ragu, pecorino di fossa and thyme–available a la carte or as part of a 3-7 item tasting progression (here’s a bone for Brooklyn’s remaining wheat-freers–gluten free and vegan bean pasta is also available by request).
Non-noodle options run the gamut from fried pickled vegetables to whole dorade to bollito misto, although their “Before or After” menu designation further drives home the preeminence of the pastas. You’ll even find crisped flags of it in lieu of chips or breadsticks at the bar, an agreeable accompaniment to LaRina’s other notable specialty: Negronis (five variations include a classic on tap, the strawberry-infused La Rossa, and Il Blondo, a herbaceous white version made with mancino bianco vermouth).
A small retail counter abutting the garden out back offers fresh pasta by the pound; which can be packaged in bags to go. Because double happiness is a bowl of whole wheat fusilli, inhaled whilst wearing sweatpants at home.
387 Myrtle Ave., (718) 852-0001, Fort Greene
Photos by Kelsey Mitchell