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August 25, 1994|LEO SMITH

Chef Nicola Rossetto of the Pastabilities Restaurant in Westlake Village was quite serious about the authenticity of his Italian menu. In fact, he was so serious that the native of Venice, Italy, returned home in search of recipes.

And not just any Italian recipes. Venetian recipes.

"My partner went back in June and returned about three weeks ago," said Giovanni Tromba, owner of Pastabilities and three other Ventura County eateries. "If you go to Venice today, you will eat the same type of food you will eat at the restaurant, the same identical dishes," he said. "It's how we blend the herbs. In the pesto sauce we blend three types of basil."

Among the items on the new menu, introduced last week, are a gnocchi dish prepared with king crab meat, a light tomato sauce, olive oil, garlic and three kinds of herbs; and a farfalle al salmone affumicato --smoked Alaskan salmon with dill, a touch of champagne and a little cream.

In addition to the change in foods, Tromba said, the restaurant will be adding a change in ambience. Beginning Sept. 7 there will be light jazz performed Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Pastabilities is located at 900 Hampshire Road, Suite X.

*

It began simply enough, on a Saturday evening about a month ago.

Bartender Mark "Brooklyn" Brockway of Ventura's Rosarito Beach Cafe brought in some CDs to play while on duty--just as he always does. On this night, in particular, he cranked up some Otis Redding and James Brown. And Saturday night's haven't been the same since.

"James Brown got everybody going," said Sandy Smith, Rosarito's owner and chef. "We put the music on a little later in the evening and found that people were hanging out and standing around the bar a little later."

Smith hardly needed a marketing degree to realize the significance of that. So now every Saturday night is James Brown Night, beginning at around 9:15.

But that's only half the story.

James Brown Night provided the impetus for a larger change in the restaurant's late-night schedule. "This has set the wheels in motion for an after-hours bistro, Fridays and Saturdays between 10 p.m. and midnight. We'll do a limited menu, cocktails and cappuccinos," said Smith. "We're almost in place." He said to expect a formal opening within a couple of weeks.

Rosarito Beach Cafe is at 692 E. Main St.

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