Victoria’s Pasta Shop: Campus Corner Round-up, part one
Victoria's Pasta Shop
I don’t live or work in Norman, so I don’t get to dine there very often. And this is a shame, since Norman has many excellent and unique restaurants. We’ve covered a few of them over the years, but I don’t think it’s enough. So, I’m going to make a concerted effort to get down to Norman more frequently and I’m starting my adventures with a round-up of restaurants in one of OKC’s most delightful dining and shopping districts, Campus Corner.
Our first stop on the Campus Corner Round-Up is Victoria’s, The Pasta Shop. This place has been on my radar for a long time, but I had never visited until recently. I’m really glad I finally got to try it. Victoria’s offers some excellent, no-frills pasta dishes at great prices in a quintessential college-town environment.
My visit was in the summer, so I imagine the vibe is a little different than when school is in full swing. Still, things were hopping on a Friday night. The house was full. We found a seat right away at just after 6pm, but shortly thereafter, people were having to wait for tables.
The building is old and it has a lot of character and charm, with aged hardwood floors and high ceilings. These features also make for a pretty loud room when full. I don’t mind the lively atmosphere, but it is something to keep in mind. My wife and I had a bit of trouble hearing each other throughout our meal.
The more distracting thing about the environment, though, was the heat. Again, we went on a hot summer evening and Victoria’s offered little relief from the high temperatures outside. I thought maybe they were having a/c trouble, so I asked around and found that this is typical on warm nights. It’s definitely not the end of the world, but it was uncomfortable enough for me to mention so that you can be aware. UPDATE (7/7/2011) – Victoria’s has informed us that they’ve installed a new a/c unit to resolve the heat issue. So, this may be a non-issue now.
But even with the noise and the heat, I have no trouble recommending that you give Victoria’s a try. There’s so much to enjoy here, it’s worth enduring a few minor inconveniences.
For starters, it’s one of the only places in OKC serving fresh pasta. Their noodles are prepared by a mom and pop operation in Oklahoma City and delivered fresh to their store several times a week. The difference between fresh and dried pasta is huge. I love the texture you get in every dish here.
I also like the “no-frills” approach. The dishes here are simple combinations of a few pastas, sauces and toppings. Presentations are nothing special — just mounds of pasta loaded on plates. I might not be a fan of this approach if they were charging hefty prices for it. But I tried a bit of the basic spaghetti with classic marinara, and I’ve got to say, I’d take this simple combination of fresh spaghetti with tangy marinara served in a decent portion for $5.79 any time.
Of course, you can get a little fancier at Victoria’s if you want. You can build your own pasta with a choice of noodle, two toppings and a sauce for $7.99. Or start with a basic combination and add any number of toppings ala carte. Plus, Victoria’s has a few specialties like Tortellini, Cheese Lasagna, Shrimp Scampi, and the one that made me very happy — the Black Pepper Linguini.
Victoria’s Black Pepper Linguini ($8.69 – see a pic) is one of those dishes that’s so simple you wonder why everyone isn’t serving it. It’s just a pasta (black pepper linguini) with two toppings (snow crab and spinach), and a lemon-garlic butter sauce. The textures were perfect. Again, there’s no substitute for fresh pasta and they dice the crab into small chunks that blend in so well. The flavors are subtle and fresh and again, so simple, but I really enjoyed everything about this dish. If I lived closer and if I didn’t have to visit all the other local, campus corner restaurants for the series, I would definitely be braving the heat to have this again soon.
My wife tried what our server told us they are known for — the Lasagna Rolls. These have shrimp, spinach and cheese rolled up in fresh lasagna strips and served with marinara and alfredo sauces. You get two of them for $8.69 or get two of them and a pasta for $10.99 (see a pic). The rolls were great. Again, just a very simple dish in a simple presentation, but good quality for a good price.
I think you get the picture about my take on Victoria’s. It’s not fancy, and it may be a little hot in the summer, but it’s very good and very affordable. Enjoy a fresh take on classics or try some of their specialties. I know that I’ll be back to explore more of the menu.
Service was also great on our visit. Our waiter was very friendly and always there when we needed him. He even split our Caesar Salad into two portions for us to share ($3.99 - see a pic), which I appreciated.
Have you been to Victoria’s? Please let us know what you think in the comments below.
See more pictures from Victoria’s The Pasta Shop in our Facebook photo album.