After a 13 hour day, I just wanted to go home and eat anything that was easy to make. Eggs were on the agenda…again…until I noticed a cafe just a few blocks from home. I decided to pop in to survey the menu and prices, and was happy to discover a delicious surprise.
Lamarca is a casual Italian restaurant specializing in pastas and baked pasta dishes (word has it that they also have delicious soups). But in the back of a restaurant, with a separate entrance, is cafe where you can sit down and eat or grab to-go. Seeing as all I wanted to do was to jump into pajamas, take-out was the obvious choice.
For just $5 you could choose a pint of one of six pastas (penne, linguine, gemelli, cavatappi, fusilli or orecchiette) with any sauce (bolognese, pesto, aurora, arrabbiata, toscana, puttanesca, filetto, marinara, ciociara). You can also upgrade to $6.50 for more pasta or stick with the pint and choose ravioli gnocchi or tortellini, but I kept it cheap and went for the gemelli with the arrabbiata sauce. All pastas and sauces are homemade and made on-site, the pesto sauce being the exception (it’s still homemade, just off-site).
While I waited, the manager was kind enough to offer me free samples of the Bolognese, aurora and pesto sauces – all were delicious in taste, particularly the aurora, but the pesto was too oily for me. I can’t wait to come back and try the rest of the sauces (it’s important to note that Lamarca is not open on Saturday or Sunday!). They added some fresh parmigiana cheese on top of my dish and I was good to go.
Right as I was paying I noticed a basket of cheese by the cash register and I inquired about the varieties. One was some sort of goat cheese and I was immediately sold. The manager said it was the owner’s favorite cheese, so I happily bought a small wedge and walked out paying a grand total of $6.37.
FYI – If you sit in the back area, the pastas are about $.50-$.75 more to stay, but you can enjoy a bottle of wine for just $17. It’s almost as cheap as cooking and drinking at home, but without the work or clean up!
I got home, hopped in my pajamas, opened a bottle of red wine and settled onto my couch with my pasta to-go (I feel like such a clichÃ©). As soon as I opened my pasta container, my roommate called out from the other room asking what smelled so good. And it tasted just as good as it smelled. The arrabbiata sauce was pretty spicy (if you want the “regular” version, just order the filetto), the tomato sauce was flavorful and a nice mix between smooth and chunky, and the pancetta and onions added a sweet, salty and deep flavor to the sauce. It was so good. The goat cheese was outstanding – harder than traditional goat cheese, but it still had that creamy texture. Maybe I was really tired, maybe I was really hungry, but this definitely hit the spot and I’m already looking forward to returning.The Basics Name: Lamarca Pasta Location: 161 e. 22nd Street at 3rd Avenue Who To Take: Self, a Friend Price: Even a homeless guy can afford it. $ Overall: Become a take-out regular. 5 Stars.