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Spotlight: Spoleto Pasta Assemblage

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Pasta shouldn’t be complicated. Spoleto, a new concept that opened recently near UCF with other locations coming soon, makes it so. That isn’t to say that what it offers isn’t good. In fact, I liked my food — and other aspects about the experience — at Spoleto a lot. I just wish it weren’t so confusing.

Spoleto is another in the growing list of assemblage concepts, the quick-serve restaurants where diners select the ingredients from various columns to be assembled by a worker behind the counter as you watch. And in the case of Spoleto, while you wait, too.

There are five steps to assembling your meal here, all of them a basic price of $7.50. First you must choose a pasta. There is penne, available in “classic Italian,” whole wheat or gluten free, which costs an extra two bucks for some reason, spaghetti, fettuccine or seasonal pasta, whatever that means. I chose fettuccine.

The second step is labeled “Get Creative” but should really be called “The Step Where You Can Screw Everything Up.” Here you select up to six ingredients from a list of 27 to add to your pasta. That’s too many, both in the number offered and the number the guest may select. I honestly can’t recall what I selected, though I know I chose only five and that was too many.

The next step is optional and includes added cost, which is why it is labeled “Choose Your Upgrades.” You can select a giant meatball, sausage link or other protein. Just for the record, step two’s list of ingredients includes some meat, so this isn’t your only option to stay non vegetarian.

Next is your sauce, followed with seasonings, which is hardly worth its own column, if you ask me. After that, you’re done.

Except you’re not. The ingredients that you choose are plopped into a skillet by your assembler and then heated and tossed over a hot plate while you watch.

After all that, I must say that the result was satisfying.

So it all turned out OK, but what is even better is that you don’t have to go through all those steps to get something good, just look for the section of the menu labeled “Chef Specials” and choose a predetermined assemblage. So much simpler.

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