Don’t forget to bring your own wine. Pasta this good deserves a glass.
“Mo & Lu” are the cutesy nicknames of Bruno Iezzi and Wuqin He, the couple who ditched the island paradise of Honolulu to open an Italian eatery along the drag of Lake City Way last summer.
It’s true. The couple reckoned the cheaper overhead of that location would allow them to offer freshly made pasta at a price point closer to a fast-food model and generate a higher volume of sales.
Mo & Lu Pasta Co.
12518 Lake City Way N.E., Seattle (Lake City); Open Monday 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; 206-362-1396 or on Facebook
Lucky you, it’s one of the better meals you can have in the north end for under 10 bucks.
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Mo & Lu Pasta Co. hews closer to the Old World than its strip-mall facade would suggest. The bowl of rigatoni isn’t drowning in red sauce. The seafood pasta isn’t covered in Parmesan. Its lasagna isn’t 12 stories high but is rich and filling all the same.
The couple didn’t bastardize Italian food like those mall food-court chains. If only the rest of the city was that blessed.
The menu: The handful of pasta and lasagna dishes, meat and vegetarian options, are the main draw, with a few soups, salads and sandwiches to round out the menu. Everything is under $9 and comes with a side of focaccia. No alcohol is served, but you can (and should) bring your own wine to dine in. There’s no corkage fee.
Don’t miss: The garlicky, herbaceous chicken meatballs (six for $4.95) are coarsely ground for a meaty bite and made with mostly dark meat for a fatty, moist texture.
It’s not the meat entrees but the mushroom lasagna that may be the most hearty meal. The three-sheet lasagna tasted like each pasta sheet was coated in béchamel and layered in a medley of portobello, cremini and white mushrooms with mozzarella, Parmesan and heavy cream. Seafood rigatoni comes with more scallops, clams, calamari and squid than the $8.95 price tag would suggest.
A tip: Mo & Lu serves free pasta dinner and drink to everyone who stops in on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The setting: It’s as much a takeout joint as a sit-in, with sandwiches and trays of ready-made pasta to-go in the display case. The spacious dining area has 11 wooden tables with 24 seats if you dine in.
Summing up: Mushroom lasagna ($8.95), seafood pasta ($8.95), sausage pasta ($8.95), chicken meatballs ($4.95) and bottled water ($2) totaled $37.04 including tax, enough for three.