Pasta Perfect

Too frequently, pasta is the only vegetarian alternative at a restaurant. And too frequently, it's merely acceptable. But the spinach and cheese lasagna ($7.95) at Barnaby's Cafe (604 Fairview, 713-522-0106; 1701 South Shepherd, 713-520-5131; 414 West Gray, 713-522-8898) is superb. It has four layers of perfectly baked pasta with ricotta and Jack cheese for substance, slivers of onion and garlic for style, and a pinch of red pepper for flavor. This massive portion -- almost the size of a Fodor's travel guide -- is then drenched in a cream-based marinara sauce with a trace of Merlot. Meatless, assuredly; heart-healthy, unlikely; delicious, definitely.
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Gary Michaels