A restaurant that proclaims itself as a unique pasta experience sets the bar high, especially in a town that claims as its own the magical Vasaio trio of Mamma Zu, Edo Squid, and 8 ½, The Franco’s family of restaurants, the LoPresti empire and even the simple pastas and takeout from Mainly Pasta . My experience at DURO was far from being unique and Duro can’t be included in my Richmond Pantheon of Pastas. While the name Duro is a reference to the Durum wheat that pasta is made from, a more apt connection may to an alternate definition of duro, “hard, ” as in “hard to get a waiter” or “hard to like.”
To be fair, the appetizers that we had were okay. The house calamari was palatable- a combination of sautéed squid with onions, capers and olives, but the soggy bread that it sat upon took away from the dish. Perhaps it had sat too long before arriving at our table. The other appetizer we had was our first taste of “the unique pasta experience.” And it was good. Little “bags” stuffed with pear, a mild cheese of some sort and topped in a white sauce. My only lament is that we had only enough for a taste. My main course included one of my favorite pairings, lamb and rosemary. The dish advertised braised lamb shanks over rosemary pasta. When I think braised I think moist and juicy. Not so- the braising liquid must have run dry, as was the lamb. And I couldn’t find much evidence of rosemary in my pasta.
I expected more from a seasoned chef, especially one that created the expectation of a “unique pasta experience. “