Dining Out: Buon appetito at Paesano!

December 10, 2015 Helen Klein
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Comfort food with an Italian spin is the star at Paesano, which opened on November 4 in Dyker Heights.

With a menu highlighting panini, burgers, salads, an array of breakfast options, and two soups daily, Paesano is the perfect place to pick up a freshly made meal to go, but diners can also sit at a table, and enjoy it on premises.

The brainchild of Maria Martinelli and Anthony De Santo, an aunt and nephew who share a love of food and a passion to provide customers with only the best, Paesano is sure to become a favorite of local residents craving freshly made food at reasonable prices.

“I have five sisters, and each one of us hosts a holiday with 45 to 50 people,” said Martinelli. “When opening up, I thought, If you can pull that off, you can do anything.”

“We want to give people variety,” noted De Santo, who said the food is cooked to order, using fresh, high-quality ingredients.

“I like to taste everything before it goes out,” he admitted. “I know what I like.”

He also clearly knows what we like. The top selling Roma Panini ($7.50) features tender grilled chicken, tart broccoli rabe, creamy fresh mozzarella and a sweet and compelling balsamic vinegar glaze, and the Roast Beef Panini ($8.50) is stuffed with meltingly tender meat marinated in a secret blend of Italian flavorings, enhanced with fried onions, mushrooms and melty fresh mozzarella. Another contrast was provided by a scoop of Caponata, Sicilian eggplant salad, which was sweet and densely flavored.

We also enjoyed one of Paesano’s freshly made salads, dubbed “build your own.” Starting with a bed of greens (romaine, spinach or mixed greens—each $3), customers can choose which ingredients they want to add at between 50 cents and $1.50 each. Our salad included bleu cheese, beets, clementine segments, croutons, walnuts, carrots, black olives, dried cranberries, cucumber, red onion, grilled pepper, mushrooms and chicken chunks, tossed with Caesar dressing. It was impeccably fresh, brightly flavored, and more than ample.

The Chicken Chili Soup ($3.50), was rich and flavorful, studded with shredded chicken, grated cheddar and kidney beans. It was spicy but not overly so, and extremely warming.
Then, there were the Rice Balls, huge gooey spheres, lightly breaded, which cost $5.50 stuffed and $3.50 plain. We opted for the stuffed, and luxuriated in its rich filling of fresh ricotta, ground meat, onions and peas, garnished with homemade tomato sauce.

We also tried the French Toast ($3.75). It was sweet, but not too sweet, golden and cooked just till tender inside, and lightly crusted outside. Pair it with cappuccino ($3, small; $3.75, large) – extraordinarily light but flavorful – and you’ve got a five-star breakfast.

We also sampled a bagel with Paesano’s housemade vegetable cream cheese ($3.25). Yes, we know this is an Italian-inspired eatery, but we were intrigued when De Santo told us that the bagels are baked for them by the same baker who makes all their classic Italian breads.
We can safely say they are onto something. The everything bagel we tried was delightfully chewy, and the cream cheese was perfect – ever so slightly sweet, and studded with veggie chunks.

8308 13th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11228
Monday-Saturday, 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

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