When a friend and I sat down at Pasquale’s the other night so I could write this article, I told her we couldn’t start eating until everything got to the table; I wanted to photograph the whole meal in one shot. Then they brought the bread. It looked like a huge garlic knot without the garlic, smelled wonderful and was still warm from the oven. We sat there talking, pretending that the bread wasn’t crying out to us. They brought the salad. Something about the slightly old-fashioned decor of the room must have subconsciously led me to expect iceberg lettuce, anemic tomatoes and cruets of oil and vinegar. My subconscious was so
wrong. The salad was a beautifully presented variety of fresh, crisp lettuces with a bit of character to them and the homemade vinaigrette I’d ordered was nicely balanced. My friend and I held out for about two mintues before I succumbed and took a separate picture. “I’ll superimpose it over the main shot,” I said. “We’re eating this NOW.” We weren’t sorry.
We got two salads, but otherwise shared the meal because everything you see in the pictures comes with one serving of chicken parmigianna (Pollo alla Parmigianna, in Italian on the menu). And, in case you think that’s a saucer you’re looking at, the plate with the parmigianna on it is about 12 inches in diameter. It contains two large, thick slices of breaded, fried chicken breast topped with fresh mozzarella cheese and a generous portion of a pasta of your choice. Ours was angel hair.
Pasquale’s is not a fancy place by any means, but that’s one of its pluses. You can go there and feel comfortable and relaxed, have a very generous and tasty meal, and leave without having waited too long or paid too much. Pasquale Iovieno, who has owned Pasquale’s in New Paltz for 20 years and Pasquale’s in Gardiner for 10, says everything is homemade at his restaurants and has also achieved something of a miracle … he manages to cook chicken breast without drying it out. I usually avoid ordering anything with chicken breast in a restaurant because I’m not all that fond of cardboard, but the chicken cutlets in our parmigianna were moist and juicy and, in spite of the sauce, still retained enough crispness from the frying to offer some nice textural contrast.
Pasquale’s is open Friday and Saturday, 11AM to 11PM and Sunday through Thursday, 11AM to 10:30PM, but you can place a phone order as early as 10:30AM. They also have the notable distinction of being the only restaurant in Gardiner that delivers.
So get over there and sample the chicken (or eggplant) parmigianna or other offer-ings from their extensive menu at 135 Main St, Gardiner (845) 255-4455.