Remi To Go Serves Fancy Pasta at Midtown Lunch Prices
On 53rd Street between 6th and 7th Avenues, there’s an expensive Italian restaurant called Remi. The prices there are way beyond the Midtown Lunch budget, but just around the corner at Remi To Go, you can pick up some food from the same people for a fraction of the cost. Remi To Go is just north of the sit-down restaurant, tucked away in an outdoor atrium labeled “6 ½ Ave.” There’s some seating outdoors, which probably fills up during the summer, plus a few tables on the inside.
I read the menu online before my first visit and was looking forward to ordering a sandwich, possibly the ‘Grilled Chicken Breast with Fontina, Avocado and Chipotle Aioli on Baguette’ or the ‘Prosciutto Crudo with Roasted Peppers and Goat Cheese-Garlic Spread on Grilled Country Bread’ – sounds good, right? You can imagine my disappointment when I saw that all sandwiches were pre-made and had been sitting out for who knows how long. Not only that, but the portions didn’t really look worth the $8.50 price tag. There were other overpriced soups, salads, cold pastas and desserts on display that I didn’t feel the need to order.
With lowered expectations, I made my way to the hot food, where there were about three pasta dishes and a meat entrée waiting to be served from a steam table. Supposedly, the hot pastas and entrees change daily and are sold in either a small or large plastic container (a $2.50 difference); I think prices can vary depending on the dish.
I decided to order a small container of gnocchi in a thick mushroom sauce ($7.00 before tax). I was asked if I wanted Parmesan cheese and my instinct told me to say yes. The sauce was hot, creamy and rich. The gnocchi was thick, but not too soft or chewy. The mushrooms tasted real and juicy (unlike some places that serve mushrooms from a can).
Overall, the meal was about as tasty as one could hope from pasta served in a plastic container – definitely better than anything from the pasta stations at Europa Café and similarly generic establishments.
During my next visit, I ordered a small container of seafood pasta, also only $7.00 before tax. The sauce was slightly creamy, well-seasoned and appropriately oily. I was quite pleased at the variety of seafood – I found shrimp, calamari, some sort of white fish, anchovies and possibly some clam. The quality and assortment of ingredients was impressive and I was happy that the overall taste wasn’t overwhelmingly fishy.
I’ll admit the portions don’t look like a lot, but I think the containers are deceptively small. I was satisfied after both of my meals, though I can imagine wanting more food if I were really hungry. It might be worth the extra $2.50 for the large container. Also, I maybe would have liked some bread on the side.
Remi To Go is only open until 4pm, so try to show up early. I arrived around 1:30 both visits and they were already running low on some of the food. The guy behind the counter said the hot pastas are usually gone by 2:30. I can’t vouch for much else, but I’ll probably come back to try more of the pastas. I’m not sure how often the same dishes make an appearance, but I’m pleased enough with the two I had to come back for more.
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- An ever-rotating menu of pasta dishes
- Quality ingredients separate Remi To Go from other cheap pasta options
- Outdoor seating, ideal for nice weather
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- Sandwiches sound appealing, but are pre-made and overpriced
- Pasta portions could be larger
- Food runs out by 2:30pm
Remi To Go, 145 W 53rd St (btw. 6+7th). 212-581-7115