Ask for Luigi is an Italian restaurant specializing in fresh hand made pasta. I went once, 5 years ago and remember it being delicious. I have not been since as they never used to take reservations and there was always a long wait. However, due to COVID, they started taking reservations.
They had two menus the evening I went: an abbreviated al a carte menu and the “Dine out Menu”. For those not familiar, Dine Out is a Vancouver food/restaurant festival where local restaurants will put together set menus, often at more accessible prices. Here were the menus:
My wife and I each did the Dine Out menu and added some extra pastas. The server warned us that it was a lot of food, but pasta is one of my favorite things.
We started with the vegetable fritti with white bean dip and mussel escabeche.
The mussels were amazing. The acidity was perfect, the textures were perfect (for example, there was a bit of radish for crunch), the mussels were fresh, and the flavors were outstanding. This was a fantastic dish.
In contrast the fritti was just OK. I think the batter could use some work, and more seasoning was needed.
The first pastas to arrive were the spaghetti pomodoro and the rigatoni bolognese. Both were delicious. The pasta was cooked well. The bolognese had a lot of sweetness and umami. The tomato sauce for the spaghetti was very good (my benchmark for spaghetti and tomato sauce is Scarpetta; I would say that if that were a 10, this would be 8).
The second dishes to arrive were from the Dine Out menu: mushroom risotto with the added short rib and potato agnolotti with Bison ragu.
The risotto was not my favorite. It could use more flavor and seasoning. The broth used to make it could be improved and more wine. The short rib was pretty good. I was also not a big fan of the agnolotti. To me, it did not work with the potato stuffing and winter spices. These were just OK dishes. You should definitely order from the normal menu.
For dessert, olive oil cake and chocolate budino. These were ok. I favored the chocolate.
We also had a nice bottle of Lambrusco to go with the meal. Overall, service was excellent and this is a nice choice for a small intimate, casual dinner. I would definitely return and stay with the “normal” menu (in general, this is the better choice most of the time).