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10 San Diego Uptown News | September 16–29, 2011 Italian Kitchen An


A pepperoni and onion pizza is served bubbling hot. (Photo by Frank Sabatini Jr.)


North Park P was around


before man walked on the moon. Founded


in 1967 by an Italian couple


from Ponza Island off the coast of Naples, the kitchen is an icon to its time, run largely now by son, Joe Romano.


“My father still comes in to eat a couple nights a week, and most of the recipes are his,” Romano says while pointing to a dated color photograph of his par- ents that bows to the restaurant’s late-60s, early-70s décor. Booths and tables run deep


throughout the clean layout, which features a semi-open kitchen in the front and a room for large parties in the back. A sidewall of windows draws suf- ficient natural light


HAPPY HOUR Name Your


40%OFF Beer & Wine


(All Day with purchase of meal) Valid Until: 09/30/11


$4.99 LUNCH SPECIALS Live Music


Tuesday Nights


(619) 291-4090 • PaesanoOfNorthPark.com 3647 30th St., SD, CA 92104


HOURS: Mon–Fri: 11 am - 2 pm / 4:30 pm - 9 pm Sat: 4:30 pm - 9 pm • Sun: 5 pm - 9 pm


aesa- no in


DINING FRANK SABATINI JR. / RESTAURANT REVIEW


from San Diego’s History Book


PAESANO 3647 30th St., San Diego, CA 92104 (North Park) 619-291-4090 Prices: Appetizers, salads and sandwiches, $2.99 to $10.99; pizzas, $8.99 to $16.99; entrees, $4.99 to $12.99


while that intoxicating smell of an Italian grandmother’s kitchen permeates throughout. What’s cooking escapes the


modern permutations of Italian cuisine. The food is instead ca- sual; sticking to saucy Neapolitan dishes like a comforting appetizer of baked bell peppers stuffed with rice and sausage or lightly bat- tered eggplant with copious moz- zarella that exceeds in richness its parmesan-style cousin (though listed as such). The eggplant is served in full or half-size entrées and sliced just thick enough as to not become upstaged by the other components. From the specials list, which


changes every month or so, we started out with a cucumber salad mingling juicy tomatoes, red onions and basil. Dressed simply in balsamic vinaigrette, it’s a re- freshing end-of-summer medley that cleans the palate before you start sucking up the red sauce. Both the marinara and meat sauces balance acidity with sweetness. The marinara was particularly bright as it ener- gized a half-order of cheese ravioli that would have otherwise tasted humdrum. For the other half of my meal, I chose penne pasta with house-made Alfredo. The silky sauce is made with Gorgonzola, a departure from the standard parmesan-Romano recipes. This version is mellower, however, with cream grabbing the spotlight over the anticipated sharpness of the cheese. My companion also took ad- vantage of the menu’s half-n-half options, choosing the aforemen- tioned eggplant coupled with an impressive portion of meat lasa- gna draped in meat sauce. The ricotta filling revealed polite hints of basil and the mozzarella was applied generously. With even more food on its way, including a pizza, I could take only one bite. A meatball and link sausage


that we ordered ala Carte was overkill, but I can’t pass through these cherished mom-and-pop Italian joints without trying both. The meatball carried all the good- ness of those I remember from my grandmother’s Sunday pasta dinners, except that it sported a slightly coarser grind of beef. The sausage link boasted discernible notes of fennel, just the way I like it, although the casing was a little chewy for my taste. The pizza possibilities are


dessert . drink . dine


vast. Options extend to provolone and ricotta cheeses, Canadian bacon, zucchini, chicken breast, artichokes and more. We kept it simple with pepperoni and onions. Needless to say, what didn’t get eaten at the table got devoured the


see Paesanos, page 11


HOURS W-Su 5-11pm


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