“Where to Twyrl, Arlington Center’s new pasta bistro in the former Madrona Tree space. Its signage announces itself in curly letters that look like spaghetti.
What for Mix-and-match homemade pastas and sauces, grilled sandwiches, salads, and al fresco seating. Owners (and in-laws) Anka Bric and Chris Furlong hope to recreate a vibe like what they’ve experienced when traveling in Venice.
The scene A study in sun-drenched, semi-suburban bonhomie. There is a fellow performing intricate yoga moves on the lawn just yonder, a kind of noodle talisman. A child teeters by on a scooter and peeks inside before being shepherded along by her parents. Families twirl (twyrl?) pasta at al fresco tables; others gather in the narrow dining room while a few black-clad waiters ferry food to and from an open kitchen, harried but smiling. It’s all white-washed and spacious, though a small ball of hair blows hither and yon in the wind across the floor, “American Beauty’’ style. What is life? Oh, carbs.
What you’re eating Pasta. A chalkboard announces that a chef named Ruben, visible in the windowed kitchen, has made today’s selections. Choose from specialty dishes like carbonara, diavolo, or Bolognese, or else create your own “as you wish’’ pasta. Decide between tagliatelle, spaghetti, or gluten-free pasta and pair it with marinara, vodka sauce, alfredo, or creamy basil pesto. Add proteins like beef meatballs and fennel sausage, or go vegetarian with steamed broccoli, eggplant, caramelized onions, or peas. At lunch, there are grilled sandwiches with bread from Somerville Bread Company (meatball, eggplant, roast beef) on a variety of vessels; there are also salads and gelato. There’s a kids’ menu, too, with simple pasta and sauce pairings.
Care for a drink? There is small vineyard wine by the glass and bottle, an assortment of $5 beer, and soft drinks from Polar and Boylan.
Overheard Implorations, explorations, exaltations, boasts. “If you could wait a moment, I’ll get you the best seat in the house,’’ says the host to a waiting party, with a grin. “People came from Kansas and Alaska. We even got former New Yorkers,’’ says a white-haired babe to her crew, clearly discussing a reunion triumph. “It’s a good thing I warned you about the carbonara,’’ teases a waiter. “I hated it,’’ says a laughing woman, pushing her empty bowl to the table’s edge. “We’re doing the bedroom in gray. Here’s the pencil sketch,’’ announces a young woman to a table of older seatmates, flashing her smart phone. “And we’re doing the foyer in navy.’’ A woman gets up to leave with a doggy bag. “Are you always this smiley and cheerful?’’ the host asks her. “Yes, but my husband would tell you differently,’’ she replies, heading toward the door.” – Kara Baskin (Globe Correspondent)