Friday, April 8, 2011

Paesano's Philly Style

W­hen my friend invited me on a random Tuesday afternoon trip to an off-campus sandwich place, I jumped at the opportunity. While I love Penn, I’m always happy to take a short break from this microcosm of very stressed-out kids. We headed to ‘Paesano’s Philly Style’ to try the sandwiches that Philadelphia Magazine suggested, “just may be the best sandwiches in the city.”

After arriving in Northern Liberties, we wandered up a lonely, unpopulated W Girard Avenue in search of Paesano’s. Luckily we noticed a little, yellow row house with "Paesano’s" etched in the window. We walked into what almost literally a hole in the wall. The tiny sandwich shop featured a narrow kitchen area adjacent to a countertop with 6 bar wobbly bar stools on the other side. The two cooks chopped meat and vegetables on the smooth stove top and pleasantly bantered with the men, who I assumed to be regulars, sitting at the counter.

A blackboard with the menu hung over the kitchen. My mouth watered as I read the sandwich selection: the Arista with whole roasted suckling pig, Italian long hots, broccoli rabe, and sharp provolone, the Gustario with house-made lamb sausage, sun-dried cherry mustarda, gorgonzola spread, roasted fennel, and would I choose? The menu’s list of side orders manifested the restaurant’s Italian roots. It featured potato arrosto, which appeared to be french fries, and crispelle, a crepe with nutella and marmalade.

My friend ordered the Zawzeech sandwich with sweet Italian sausage, caramelized peppers and onions, sharp provolone, and pepperoncino. I decided to go with the restaurant’s namesake and opted for the Paesano. We fidgeted at the counter as we waited, watching impatiently as the friendly cook added layer after layer of ingredients to our sandwiches. Finally, he added the finishing touch fried egg to my sandwich and set it in front of me on a thin piece of wax paper.

My sandwich featured beef brisket, horseradish mayo, roasted tomatoes, pepperoncino, sharp provolone, and fried egg. As I bit into it, the horseradish, egg yolk, and oil blended everything together into a succulent mess. While I ate my savory sandwich my friend enjoyed his sweeter sandwich. I started to guess how many calories I was consuming in one meal, but changed my mind and tallied things in terms of how many calories I was consuming for a small $8 price. This sandwich was a lot of bang for a buck, and it was phenomenal!

After leaving a generous tip, we turned to go and noticed the far wall of the restaurant for the first time. On it hung various photographs: pictures of a large, pink pig lovingly snuggled against people and, much to my horror, a picture of piglets, that would have otherwise been adorable, covered in seasoning and placed in a pan. I quietly said thanks that I hadn’t noticed the pictures before eating.

Nevertheless, I vowed to return again to try more sandwiches and maybe even investigate the story behind the pictures. The small eatery certainly had character and I had just enjoyed one of the best sandwiches of my life.

152 W Girard Ave
Philadelphia PA 19123

1 comment:

  1. We went to Paesano's Italian Market location today on the Penn Appetit bloggers' trip. So delicious! It's nice that they have two locations so that twice as many people can enjoy their amazing sandwiches.



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