Favorite

Italian on the cheap 

Pasta Jack's a solid lunch deal

FAST ITALIAN: Pasta Jack's lunch deal gets you a full plate for just less than $6.
  • FAST ITALIAN: Pasta Jack's lunch deal gets you a full plate for just less than $6.

If you work downtown it's really easy to tire of the dining options offered by the River Market. The recent addition of Pasta Jack's Italian gives you one more option to eventually get burned out on, but if you've already had three gyros this week, if Fat Sam's isn't doing it for you anymore or if a salad and soup at Boulevard just won't hit the spot today, Pasta Jack's is a solid alternative.

The small Italian eatery sits in the southeast corner of the River Market, in the space formerly occupied by Hunka Pie. There are also two other locations in Benton and Bryant.

Jack's is a simple storefront, basically a kitchen with a counter, but maybe the low overhead is one reason Jack's isn't very expensive. You place your order and pay at the counter and then take a seat until the food comes up. Jack's staff was very friendly and went the extra step of coming out to our table after we got our food to make sure we had everything we needed.

If you order an appetizer, like we did, it will likely come out at the same time as your meal. The stuffed mushrooms ($4.25) are a great start. Other options for starters include garlic bread and cheese toast. The mushrooms came out hot and stuffed with parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Rich indeed, but very tasty and satisfying.

For the main course we tried a smattering of pasta selections. The lunch deal is a bargain at $5.95. That gets you a meal-sized heap of pasta, a slice of Texas Toast-style garlic bread and side salad that's big enough to warrant its own styrofoam container.

The spaghetti and meatballs weren't the best we've ever had, but the dish hit the spot. The pasta came al dente, just right. The marinara had a nice consistency, neither too thick nor too runny, and didn't taste like it came out of a can. The dense meatballs that came with our spaghetti were well-spiced, and everything came with a healthy sprinkle of freshly ground parmesan.

The chicken and tomato “specialty pasta” ($7.25) was simple but good — tomatoes and garlic chicken served with linguine in a butter sauce. There was plenty of chicken in the mix, unlike what you might expect at a larger chain restaurant where the amount of pasta can outweigh additional ingredients. Although it was a bit oily for our taste, it was seasoned with just enough garlic and basil to nicely gratify the palate without overpowering it. The strength of the dish was in the size of the portion, which, though the meal itself was fairly light, could accommodate a big appetite with leftovers to spare.

The alfredo sauce in the chicken alfredo ($9) was a standout, way better than something you'd find at an Olive Garden, but not quite up to par with, say, Bruno's or Cafe Prego. The side of garlic bread is a nice touch, although we found it to be strangely dry considering the amount of butter that came with it.

Pasta Jack's is a nice addition to an already-diverse selection of choices in the River Market. Ristorante Capeo it ain't, but for a quick Italian lunch, it's a pretty good bet. Nothing is remarkable, but everything is solid and for the price and the portion sizes — you're going to have leftovers — it truly is a bargain lunch spot.


Pasta Jack's Italian
400 President Clinton Ave.
372-3700

Quick bite
The stuffed mushroom appetizer is pretty killer. If you don't have enough room for all of that, the lunch special, complete with salad and garlic bread, will take care of even the biggest cravings.

Hours
10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Other info
Credit cards accepted. No alcohol.

Favorite

Speaking of Cafe Prego, Ristorante Capeo

Related Locations

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Arkansas Times Staff

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist resigns

    Bob Scoggin, 50, the Department of Arkansas Heritage archeologist whose job it was to review the work of agencies, including DAH and the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department, for possible impacts on historic properties, resigned from the agency on Monday. Multiple sources say Scoggin, whom they describe as an "exemplary" employee who the week before had completed an archeological project on DAH property, was told he would be fired if he did not resign.
  • Labor department director inappropriately expensed out-of-state trips, audit finds

    Jones was "Minority Outreach Coordinator" for Hutchinson's 2014 gubernatorial campaign. The governor first named him as policy director before placing him over the labor department instead in Jan. 2015, soon after taking office.
  • Lawsuit filed against ADC officials, prison chaplain convicted of sexual assault at McPherson

    A former inmate who claims she was sexually assaulted over 70 times by former McPherson Womens' Unit chaplain Kenneth Dewitt has filed a federal lawsuit against Dewitt, several staff members at the prison, and officials with the Arkansas Department of Corrections, including former director Ray Hobbs.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in Dining Review

  • Culinary art

    Canvas, the new restaurant in the Arkansas Arts Center, impresses.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • SO on Sunday

    Fine dining stand-by still a hit.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • Right on, Roma

    Good food at a good price in Jacksonville.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Arkansas remembers Pearl Harbor

Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation