Fresh Food, Friendly Folks at Mirko Pasta
In the renewed Toco Hills Promenade, Mirko Pasta brings fresh Italian dishes served by friendly folks.
As part of the Toco Hills Promenade’s ongoing renovations, the space that was once home to Edo Japanese Restaurant has been renewed and divided into three separate properties, including the newly-opened Mirko Pasta, which occupies a bright corner space and features a nice patio.
Mirko Pasta is a chain with locations in Atlanta, Athens, Macon and Nashville, TN. Mirko, named for founding chef Mirko Di Giacomantonio, focuses on the freshness of its food, and this freshness was evident on my visit.
The restaurant was surprisingly busy for dinnertime on a Wednesday night. Most of the tables in the space, which combines rustic decorations like woven baskets and framed wheat grains with industrial touches, were full and the room was buzzing. There is also a small bar with an HDTV for diners who want to eat and watch sports simultaneously. Because of the cement flooring and lack of curtains, it can get pretty loud, which seems to be a trend in restaurants lately.
We were seated quickly by a very friendly hostess, although we did have to wait a little longer than normal to get our drink orders. Once our waitress arrived, though, the service improved considerably. She checked in on us frequently and even made an excellent meal suggestion for my dining companion. Each table receives a plate of thick, soft rolls and a plate of dipping sauce of white beans, bacon and olive oil, an unexpected combination that tastes hearty and comforting.
Mirko’s menu consists of salads, appetizers and a few entrees, but the main draw is how diners can choose their own combination of pasta and sauce. The waiters can even bring around a large tray with examples of each kind of pasta if diners are unfamiliar with them because the menu does not explain them.
The pastas are divided into corta (short), which includes rigatoni, fusilli and gnocchi, and lunga (long), which includes fettuccine, tagliatelle and pappardelle. There are also ravioli choices like eggplant, butternut and mushroom. Sauces include pomodoro, carbonara and pesto. Waiters can provide pairing suggestions if needed.
However, one standout dish involves an unusual ravioli choice: the Granny Smith apples and sausage. It sounds like a strange blend, but combined with the pink sauce (which is not on the menu, but is a combination of bolognese and alfredo) and some fresh parmesan cheese sprinkled on top, it works incredibly well together. It also looks gorgeous. A woman at the table next to us asked what it was.
I got the fettuccine bolognese, a heaping pile of thick long noodles with rich tomato sauce and big chunks of beef. It was delicious. The portions are definitely generous enough to make two meals, and our waitress knew this as soon as she served them to us.
Desserts include crepes made with Nutella, tiramisu, sorbet and cannoli. We had the cannoli, which actually consisted of two skinny cannoli instead of just one. They were drizzled with chocolate and filled with chocolate ricotta, although there was too much lemon in them. Desserts also cost $6 each. Combining pasta and sauce makes a meal about $10 and the entrees cost a little more than that, so Mirko is still a fairly affordable option considering the high quality of the preparation.
Mirko also serves beer, wine and coffees. The house white wine is acceptable, if a little too light, whereas a non-house pinot grigio went over better and had a stronger taste to it. The coffee drinks offered are espressos, cappuccinos and lattes. Italian lemon and orange sodas are also available.
Aside from a slightly slow start to things, we had a great time and a good meal. Mirko is definitely a quality choice for a heaping helping of fresh pasta or other Italian deliciousness served by friendly people.
Mirko Pasta is located at 2945-C North Druid Hills Road.
Open Monday-Saturday from 11 am to 10 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 9 pm.