For all the years I've had delivery from Paesano's on S.W. Ninth, I never once stepped inside until this past winter when I ordered carryout. A month ago I rode the bus down to Rock Power Pizza but not finding them open – despite their posted hours on the door – I went to Plan B and revisited Paesano's for a sit-down meal.
For starters I ordered the Super Salad with lettuce, onions, mushrooms, mozzarella, some shreds of red cabbage and carrot, and a peperoncini and slices of cucumber for garnish. Canned mushrooms were a disappointment. The house Italian dressing is bright, zesty, and clingy enough not to pool up in the bottom of the bowl. Despite the mushrooms I polished off the salad with relish.
Next up: crisp, golden onion rings. The crunchy breading adhered well, nor was it overburdened with oiliness. Excellent rings!
For the main course I settled for the Graziano sausage grinder, with the namesake Italian sausage nestled in a hoagie roll, topped with mozzarella, and superbly toasted. With a choice of hot or sweet peppers, I opt for both. A bargain sandwich with big, bold flavors. A great finish to a delightful meal.
Desirous for a sit-down pizza I return later in the week for one most unique: Aunt Angie's Special. Built with capicola, fried sweet peppers, meatball and hard-boiled egg, it's a sight to behold and almost qualifies as a breakfast pizza. The chopped homemade meatballs are dotted with spots of tasty, crisp char from their stint in the oven, and the taste of egg is an unexpected pleasure. The entire concoction reminds me of an Italian grandmother's lasagna, if I were only so fortunate in lineage to have one.
Paesano's bucks the local tradition of crispy thin crust by offering a crust just as thin, but quite tender in comparison. The rind does however offer a satisfying crunch.
Relative new kids on the block like Chisme, Fong's and Gusto have made their mark on the culinary scene with their inventive, unique pizzas. Paesano's Aunt Angie's Special proves even old-school pizzerias can throw a curve or two as well.