Well I had a break from 3:30 to 5:15 today and decided to make the two mile walk out to Paesanos. What was the draw you ask? None other than a fried lasagna sandwich! Upon my arrival it was confirmed that this place was a dive, but a friendly and welcoming dive at that. The owner was there and cooking with his head chef fully tattooed with sleeves on both arms. I sat down at one of the eight seats at the counter and prepared to be wowed. One thing that stuck out to me was that they knew almost every person who walked into the restaurant. That level of committed customer is what I look for in a corner shop.
One thing to note is that I love the concept of an open kitchen. For me it is a wonderful thing to watch them make my food and I think that they pay closer attention because they know you are watching. This favorite of mine was realized at Paesanos because it was so small that the oven and grill were right behind the counter.
So let’s talk fried, yes, fried lasagna. Not only do they have a lasagna that would make me lick the plate with its perfectly cooked noodles and stringy melted cheese but they pan fry it in just a little bit of oil. Next they toss it on a toasted bun with melted provolone, creamy, creamy provolone and then top it with a perfectly fried and delicious egg. At some restaurants it may stop there but not at Paesanos. The chef then took some heavy cream and tomato paste and made me a sauce just for my sandwich. That was when I knew I was in for something special. In what world does an eight seat dive make a pan sauce from scratch for every order? My mouth was watering and I was ready to down this sandwich.
First bite, creamy and sweet, crunchy and rich, with sauce running all over my hands in reckless abandon. One bite and I could sit back in my seat and take a nap. One bite and I knew that it was a good thing that I do not live in Philadelphia. Wow, this was a sandwich, why doesn’t everyone fry their lasagna and put it on a bun? I finished my sandwich faster than I thought I could and was thankful that my stomach wouldn’t listen to my brain when it asked for another.
I left Paesanos with a full and happy stomach and with a desire to go back tomorrow. This makes me thankful that it is two miles from my hotel and I am too cheap to rent a cab. If not I may camp out there for the next few days and try everything they have to offer. I am also thankful that I walked the four mile round trip because my caloric intake may have been enough for an entire day but it was so worth it.
My final thought to anyone in Philly – go to Paesanos, order the “Bolognese”, and tip well. They earned it.