The website for Trattoria Pappardelle says that it’s located on Washington Square and that the head chef is Paulo Lunetti, which is two lies for you right there. It’s like four blocks north, and the chef’s name is actually Paul Mooney, and he’s from Staten Island. I know this because I dated his sorry ass for three years before he dumped me right before he got this job in Manhattan, the slime. That means Trattoria Pappardelle has been open about four months now, so if you want to go there, you should do it soon, by which I mean before the Health Department closes it down.
Trattoria Pappardelle serves traditional Italian fare in an intimate, romantic setting. What that really means is that Paul talked the owner to keep the lights turned down so no one can see how ugly the food is. It does have these cute red-and-white checkered tablecloths, so there’s that, I only mention this because Paul thinks that cute checkered tablecloths are tacky, which shows you how much he knows.
When you get there, ask Katie the hostess if you can sit on the left side. Not that it makes that much of a difference, because the food is the same either way. and the same cheesy murals are on either side. But the tables on the left are Wilma’s, and the tables on the right are Kameron’s. Wilma is not really a very good waitress, and she will try to talk you out of ordering any of the lobster dishes, even though lobster is like, really cheap right now, and most of it is sustainably farmed. But Wilma is essentially a nice person and won’t ever do anything like have try and have sex with your boyfriend in the back of a VW Touareg.
I am not saying that, if you happen to go to Trattoria Pappardelle, that Kameron will try to talk your boyfriend into having a quickie in the back seat of a German crossover vehicle, just because she did that to my boyfriend, who is now my ex-boyfriend, but I am saying that Kameron will put her slut hands all over your food and you don’t really want that.
Trattoria Pappardelle is BYOB, but they will set you up with a corkscrew and wine glasses if you ask nicely. Orlando does the dishes, and he’s usually very conscientious about the glasses being clean but he’s not there every night, so make sure you check for spots. Paul is too much of a wuss to fire Orlando, even after that time he was gone for three days and Paul had to drive all the way down the Jersey Shore to bail him out after he’d gotten picked up for drunk-and-disorderly on the boardwalk at Point Pleasant.
You probably want to get the soup. It’s the one thing that Paul actually does well, the lying slug. The roasted cauliflower soup with lamb sausage is your best choice. Paul put it together when he was at Cucina Vito’s in Perth Amboy and they had a lot of cauliflower and lamb sausage left over after some catering gig, and it turned out better than you’d think. At least it’s better than the minestrone, which is mostly a way for Paul to use up vegetables that aren’t exactly fresh anymore. The only good thing about the minestrone is that Paul always adds freshly cooked conchiglie before he serves it, because if you add in the pasta when you cook the soup, the pasta gets overcooked, and Paul cares more about overcooked pasta than he does about people, even people that are close to him and who let him borrow thirty-five hundred dollars to finish his last semester of cooking school.
You want the soup because the appetizers are mostly garbage. Paul buys the ravioli from Sysco, because he’s too lazy to put down his PlayStation controller and go into the kitchen and make fresh appetizers. Then he just throws some sun-dried tomatoes on top and says that’s gourmet dining, which is a joke. The only thing that’s any good is the roasted eggplant dip with brown butter and balsamic vinegar, because Andre, the sous-chef, makes that himself. Paul is a big giant baby and he thinks eggplant is gross. It’s one of the few things Andre gets to do on his own, and he works hard on it, and it’s really good and you should try it.
All of the salads have chopped red onion in them, which is gross, so don’t get the salad.
You pretty much can’t go wrong with any of the pasta dishes at Trattoria Pappardelle. This is because one of the few things that Paul is actually good at doing, other than being emotionally unavailable and immature, is making pasta. Kevin is the saucier, and he does a really good job on the pasta sauces, so you’re pretty much set. I am not saying that Kevin is really a nice person, because he isn’t, and he smokes. I have it on good authority Kevin told Paul to dump me when he got the job in Manhattan, because thought I was taking up too much of Paul’s time. But it is not like Kevin screwed Kameron out in the parking lot, or went to Bermuda with Lisa from Liberty Travel not two weeks after he broke up with me, the way Paul did. You can order the linguine with quail or the wild boar ragu with penne with confidence.
Trattoria Pappardelle’s reputation is built on their chicken parm, which is not because it’s all that good but because Paul uses bigger chicken breasts and pounds them thin to make it look like you’re getting a lot bigger portion than you actually are. Paul thinks most people are cheap bastards, and the only way you can get them to come in the door is either with two-for-one coupons or by making them think they’re getting a deal on the chicken parm. The problem with the larger chicken breasts is that they don’t have that much flavor and aren’t that juicy, so Paul salts the hell out of the chicken to make up for it. So don’t get the chicken parm unless you want your blood pressure to go up the way mine did when Paul dumped me for no reason, the louse.
The best item on the menu is the braised veal chop with the saffron orzo. Paul used to be really sniffy about veal, and the only reason it was on the menu in his old restaurant was that he said that the owner kept complaining that he left it off. But then when he lost the lease on the old restaurant, he took me to Italy for two weeks, which at the time I thought was so incredibly romantic until I found out that he put the airfare on my credit card without asking me first. Anyway, we went to Naples, and had dinner at this amazing restaurant on this historic piazza, and I was just convinced he was going to ask me to marry him then and there, but of course he didn’t, because Paul wouldn’t notice a romantic moment if it hit him in the face with a bottle of pinot grigio. So I ordered the veal chop, and Paul made fun of me for ordering it, and I told him it was better than anything he knew how to make. So he tried a bite, and then he ended up eating half of it, and then went in the back to ask for the recipe, which once they found out he was a cook, they basically put him to work while I was sitting at the table all by myself eating about a half-dozen zeppole and feeling bad about myself. But it really turned Paul on to veal, and so you should probably order that.
They don’t have zeppole at Trattoria Pappardelle, which is probably a good idea because they’re incredibly fattening, but it’s a shame. The main thing most people get is the cannoli, which is pretty good, but be sure to order the flourless chocolate cake. Paul decided to have a gluten-free menu, which was a good idea on his part, but the only dessert that they could figure out that would be gluten-free is the flourless chocolate cake, and Paul hates flourless chocolate cake because he’s not really good at making pastries in the first place and you have to watch it to make sure it doesn’t fall. So be sure to order the flourless chocolate cake, but cover your ears when you do, because Paul gets really cheesed off when anyone orders it and you might hear some bad words.
Trattoria Pappardelle is wheelchair-accessible and kid-friendly, although don’t bring up the subject of having kids around Paul because he won’t ever talk about it and will try to make you feel bad for asking. The restaurant takes American Express, Visa and MasterCard, but not Discover even though lots of people use Discover and I told Paul a hundred times that he should take it but he won’t because he let his Discover balance get too high that one time and they raised his rate and he still holds a grudge. I give Trattoria Pappardelle four stars, but only if you get the lasagna and the flourless chocolate cake, and if you sit on the left side of the restaurant. Except that I give it one star if you’re that bitch Lisa from Liberty Travel, who can die in a fire as far as I’m concerned.
Enjoy your dinner!