Cristo's House of Pasta
 Copley, Ohio       Date of Visit  01/13/12      
 No Known Website

We had gone to Cristo’s on a previous occasion. Steph was certain we were going to find a local Italian joint that would allow us the freedom to go to non-Italian restaurants on our trips to Y-town. You gotta fix your jones before you can think about anything else, so Italian it always was. Well, our first trip was so very not good, but that was before we had started this collection of ramblings and I have been joking about going back ever since. The time had come.



Garlic Bread

Driving through the first really blustery day in Ohio this winter we arrived  between lunch and dinner to find a couple of other cars in the parking lot, already an improvement. When I've seen cars here I've often wondered if they are eating or live in the trailer park in back. Today they were eating. Cristo’s reminds me of most of my favorite places from home. It is in an old house which is sagging at every joint and the floor has a bounce and sway to it that makes me feel like it is a small family owned space. Hopefully the food will make me feel the same way, of a family with long storied recipes and time around the table. Things were better this time to be sure.

Our server met us as soon as we walked in and while she may be a hint whacky she provided pretty efficient service while completing her side work to be ready for dinner. We ordered fried zucchini, meatballs, angel hair with meat sauce and a link of Italian sausage which came with wedding soup and a pasta pie topped with meatball which came with a salad.

Nothing Special but Works

Have Some Work To Do With The Wedding Soup

Textural and Flavoral Issues; Not Bad But South of Average

Sparse but Tasty

The zucchini were fine, cut to a batonnet and breaded in what appears to be a standard Italian bread crumb. They arrived hot and vegetabley with a side of ranch dressing. While there could stand to be a few more on the plate, no major complaints. We were already miles ahead of our first visit. Something our server said stuck with me. She said “we are trying to keep things more consistent.” They must have gotten some feedback and are actually responding to it. We had also ordered a couple of meatballs. Not my fav from the meatball kingdom. Texturally they have the thick density and a suspicious dearth of meatiness in the flavor that suggests a lot of binder. Not bad, just had so many better versions.

Along with a standard little bowl of salad and just functional wedding soup came a short warm loaf of garlic bread followed quickly by the entrees. The pasta was al dente, not as easy for angel hair as many would think. The sauce is the other ingredient that just doesn’t get there for me. It’s thick and tomatoey but there isn’t much else going on to make it interesting or unique, that thing that would make me return specifically to this location for that specific taste.


Well Done Pasta But Sauce Needs a Boost of Something

The House Special Pasta Pie. Crust Is Special

The pasta pie is Cristo’s thing. It had promise. It was close to delivery. Thin dough is topped with spaghetti and sauce, a pizza topping and cheese. In this case meatball was the topping. It was here I found something special. The crust was amazing. Not sweet, but just a hint of sugar/honey, super yeasty/bready, great crusty/teary ratio, all around awesome. What kept the whole thing from being great was first and again the sauce and meatball, but even more so, the reappearance of one of my pet peeves in Italian restaurant. DRAIN THE PASTA. Do it well. Where the crust around the edge of the pie was transcendental in the center it had absorbed so much pasta water is was mush. Shame.

After our most recent visit I don’t think Cristo’s will be an ongoing “joke” as they were following our first visit. Not the best but it is close with some promise. They use the same crust for their pizza, we asked. I think I will be trying that soon.

Inside the Pasta Pie, The Crust is The Best Part



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