Paisano’s Italian Pizzeria and Restaurant

Last Friday night we were in the mood to try something new so I used Google map’s “nearby” feature to find restaurants close to us.

From this search we stumbled onto Paisano’s Italian Pizzeria and Restaurant, at the intersection of Rte 14 and Pelham Road in Greer. For all my adventurous eating, I am not a fan of “red sauce” Italian but this place had a full range of Italian items and a lot of Greek cuisine choices too. We began scanning the extensive menu and were in the car just as our mouths started to water and our bellies began rumbling.

Paisano’s is located in a strip mall. Mr. McB described the location as a culinary UN as there are Korean and Japanese groceries, a Thai restaurant, a BBQ joint, a deli, and this Italian-and-Greek establishment.

The restaurant itself will not win any design awards and the lighting is a little dim but it’s got a comfortable, family feel. While I appreciate good restaurant design and decor, it’s not a must for me. I have been in far too many fancy restaurants with substandard food. I go to art museums for my eyes and restaurants for my belly.

We were seated quickly and began another scan of the menu. I had already decided to go Greek and picked the moussaka. McB decided on the tortellini with chicken.

Both of our meals came with a salad. We both selected the house (Greek) dressing. It was quite good and tangy. The salads were fresh and while they weren’t huge, they were a good start for the meal.

M’s pasta came out on what can only be described as a platter. He had a mountain of tri-colored tortellini and grilled chicken. The dish was served with an alfredo sauce and garlic bread. He was a big fan of the pasta and sauce. He said the chicken was nothing special and actually took away from the enjoyment of the pasta. He couldn’t put his finger on what was wrong with the chicken but it just didn’t measure up to the pasta. He’ll definitely order the tortellini again but won’t ask for the chicken to be added in the future.

I was a little apprehensive about the moussaka. I love Greek food and this is one of those areas where my travels work against me. I have consumed some of the most delicious food of my life in Greece and am often disappointed by what passes as Greek food here in the US. One bite of this moussaka but a big smile on my face. The beef was perfectly seasoned. The eggplant was not mushy or bitter. This was a big hit. My meal came with a side of pita (freshly made) with yogurt dip and Greek potatoes. I enjoyed the pita but found the yogurt dip to be too thick and a bit bland. The Greek potatoes were a little too lemony for my taste. The sides made the meal a great bargain but with the salad it was just too much food for me to handle. This is especially true since we were guided by our hunger and made an ill-advised choice to order the cheese stick appetizer.  The cheese sticks were good and they came with a wonderful homemade marinara but they were just unnecessary given the size of our entrees.

We are both looking forward to a return trip to Paisano’s and are so glad to have this gem in our area. It’s not often that the ubiquitous Italian/Greek combo restaurant does justice to both cuisines.  The service is wonderful and the prices are very reasonable. I highly recommend stopping in the next time you’ve got a rumble in your belly and no particular place to go.

Sunny Point Cafe

Back in August, I had the chance to meet my parents in Asheville for a visit to the WNC Farmers’ Market and lunch. While we enjoy the Moose Cafe located at the market, we wanted something different. Enter Sunny Point Cafe located at 626 Haywood Rd in West Asheville.

574685_10151011169052233_74143656_nSunny Point has the tiniest of parking lots. Thanks to my dad’s eagle-eyes we were able to nab a parking space but be prepared to park and walk to the restaurant. Actually, there can be a bit of a line so be prepared to let you party out of the car so they can get your name on the list while you find on-street parking.

That tiny parking lot is the only thing that separates the cafe from the lush garden where Sunny Point grows much of the produce used in their dishes. Lettuce, greens, tomatoes, and herbs were just some of the tasty items growing the day we visited.

After a brief wait, we were seated at a table under the partially enclosed patio. We ordered the fried green tomato and goat cheese appetizer. It was delicious, maybe too delicious for its own good since there are no pictures of it.

195903_10151011169472233_58360315_nDad ordered the burger. From this picture you can see how big and thick it is. You can also seed that gorgeous slice of heirloom tomato from the garden. The beef is free-range, hormone-and-antibiotic-free. It comes on a toasted English-muffin bun.

 

300808_10151011175157233_32485797_nMom got the grilled chicken sandwich with cheddar and maple-and-black-pepper bacon. Her bacon wound up on Dad’s burger. He said it was very good. She enjoyed the sandwich and the delicious fries.

I ordered the black bean tostadas. I can’t adequately describe this pile of delicious without going to the menu description. “Two crisp corn tortillas topped with grilled chipotle cheese grit cakes, roasted tomatillo salsa, and baby greens. Garnished with black bean corn salsa, cilantro crema, feta cheese, and fresh cilantro.”

378215_10151011169212233_326582162_nI loved everything about the dish. The contrast between the creamy elements and the tangy tomatillo salsa and the crispy tostadas and the moist grit cakes…my taste buds couldn’t ask for more. It was so delicious. I must admit to waking up craving this dish. It’s so unique and flavorful, I can’t imagine anything that would make a good substitute.

I would highly recommend Sunny Point. Other than the parking lot and the fact that they do not have Sweet’N Low for your coffee, it’s almost perfect.