It's been months in the making -- surely more months than chef Wade Moises originally planned on when he and business partner/sous chef Nicholas Gentry left their gigs at Sassi, the swanky north Scottsdale fine dining spot, last June. But after finally getting the green light from the city last week, Moises quietly opened PastaBar, his downtown Phoenix restaurant, over the weekend. Friends and family were in on it; now Moises is opening his doors to the public.
"Quietly" is the key word here. Moises says he still is staffing the joint and getting new employees trained. The hours are also in flux, as they feel their way through dinner-only service this week. They might be closed this coming Sunday, but Moises assures me that they will be open Mondays (good for industry peeps to know), and their seven-day-a-week operation will soon include lunch and late night, most likely beginning on February 19.
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Moises also worked for Mario Batali's NYC joints Lupa and Babbo (yum on both), as well as Mary Elaine's. No surprise, PastaBar is all about homemade pastas -- currently nine different items, including a ravioli of the day, chitarra alla carbonara (with guanciale, farm egg, local onion, and pecorino), and orecchiette with homemade sausage and greens. To start, look for marinated local farm vegetables, or local greens with Maya's egg, Parmigiano, warm anchovy vinaigrette with crostini, along with sides like slow-roasted pork shoulder and slow-roasted local lamb.