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Pacci's Trattoria & Pasticceria, Forest Glen

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Last night, Azami mentioned that Pacci's had opened recently, and we were looking for an excuse to drive around using our brand new turbo. So, we headed over. We hadn't been to the General Store, so I don't know how much the space has changed, but it was very homey and warm with its hardwood floors, yellow walls, and sconce lighting.

Right now, there's not really room to wait inside unless you stand right by the takeout counter. This is good from the standpoint that it allows you to watch the interplay between the open kitchen and the fairly cozy dining room -- meaning that you also get a sense of the lack of organization across the staff. Everyone was friendly and appeared to be working hard, but it seemed to us that the system has a number of inefficiencies that contribute to a lengthy waiting/dining experience, as we would learn. For example, the cashier/hostess/takeout order processor is also apparently the only person who can pass bread from the kitchen to the waitstaff, so if she's busy with calls or orders, she can't respond to staff requests. Why the staff couldn't make the same request to the kitchen isn't clear.

The menu is small, with about eight options per appetizer/primi/secondi, three salads, and about six desserts. We started with the caprese, which came in thick slices of pale, crisp tomato and very fresh mozzarella, lightly drizzled with olive oil and a tiny sprinkling of basil. The tomatoes were quite flavorful, if lacking in color, and I would've liked a bit more basil. It was good, but not amazing. We each had a pasta for dinner: pappardelle with mushrooms and a mild housemade pork sausage for Azami, ravioli with bolognese for me. All pastas are made in house and are cooked well. Azami enjoyed his pasta, but didn't rave. The ravioli were good, stuffed with a generous amount of plain mozzarella. The sauce had good acidity and good tomato flavor, but was far too loose to be bolognese. It was more like tomato sauce with meat.

We felt like we spent an inordinate amount of time waiting -- for drink orders, for our courses, for the bill, for our change (which we finally ended up going to the front to get on our way out). I would not expect a dinner like this (app, entrees, no drinks) to take the slightly more than an hour that it did. I understand that they've only been open for about three weeks and that it was a Friday night, but I couldn't help feeling that the process inefficiencies helped create the sense that waiting was not due to busyness.

Prices were reasonable: one appetizer and two mains for just under $40. Pacci's doesn't have its liquor license yet; the sign in the window seemed to indicate the hearing would be sometime in October.

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We went during the first week of operations and, to be honest, I was quite disappointed.

We started with the bruschetta, which was served on untoasted, dense bread - not the grilled focaccia/Italian/French bread that I would normally expect. The bread had an almost "mealy" texture in my mouth. Not a good way to start!

I had the ravioli and Lisa had the sciallatielli. The ravioli was really quite good - not outstanding - but definitely worth the $14 we paid for it. The sciallatielli was a little disappointing. It was definitely heavy on the salt and the homemade sausage was bland and overcooked.

But take my comments with more than a grain of salt. This was in the first few days of operation, and they were having all sorts of issues with service. I'm sure their challenges extended to the kitchen.

Lisa went again last night and said that things hadn't changed much. Her pasta (gnocchi) was good, but didn't knock her socks off.

I really really want to like this place. We plan on going back at least a few more times once they get their liquor license (it's very close to home and quite friendly so we're willing to give them a few chances). I hope their execution and service improve in the meantime.

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Had dinner at Pacci's Trattoria Friday night. At just after 5 PM, we were the 2nd table seated, by 6 PM, there were couples/families waiting by the door to get in. Everything was fine for a neighborhood spot. The bread on the bruschetta could have been toasted, and used more goat cheese; at least the roasted peppers were very good. The Arancini de Riso (risotto balls stuffed w/ground beef) were bigger then I'd have preferred, but nicely fried. For the mains, my wife's gnocci was good - but not as good as our own home made - and was a portion generous enough to be Saturday's lunch. My Scialatielli alla Rosario could have had a stronger sausage flavor, but overall was pretty good.

The wait staff was efficient and didn't seem to be bothered by us frequently having to indulge the 15 month old with a walk around the restaurant. The bus-staff however was either not coordinated, eager to turn our table, or both. No less then four different busboys asked if they could take our plates or box our dishes inside of 15 minutes. I understand people were waiting for a table, with really no place to wait given the restaurants size. But their eagerness to please one waiting group annoyed our sat-and-dining group.

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