Vespa scooters were originally equipped with soft pasta wheels to handle Rome’s cobbled streets and olive-oil slicks, a practice discontinued after commuters were forced to walk home during rush hour due to a rash of dinnertime thefts. Keep pasta on the plate with today’s Groupon: for $12, you get $25 worth of Italian fare at Pazzesco in Ames.
A quaint Italian restaurant with old-country roots and classic flair, Pazzesco heaps piles of pasta and charm onto guests’ plates while leaving ample room for a succulent hand-cut steak. Founder Chris Patterson’s fusion of fresh Italian and chophouse fare incorporates menu items that have been passed down through generations or decoded from complex metrical schemes in Virgil’s lost epics. The antipasti freddi ($13) starts meals off heartily with an assortment of Italian meats and cheeses served with peppers and olives, and diavolo eggs ($3) make spicy souvenirs from Dante’s trip to the Inferno. Spaghetti marinara ($8.50) and lasagna layered with sausage and cheese ($12) co-star in an extravagant production of pasta dishes that includes a supporting cast of homemade meatballs or sausage links ($3 each). Hand-cut chophouse steaks such as the thick 12-ounce Iowa Chop ($15) or the juicy 14-ounce rib eye ($18) are chargrilled or broiled in butter and garlic and topped with a rich brown-butter sauce.
Festively lit outdoor patio seating supplements an inviting dining room, where guests can enjoy the myriad fruits of Rome without pillaging its timeless monuments with knives and forks. A recent addition to the local culinary landscape, Pazzesco hopes to win over new converts with its simple, fresh cuisine and welcoming family atmosphere.
6008 W Lincoln Way
Ames, Iowa 50014