Arts & Entertainment

Restaurant Spotlight: Paisano’s

Since last week, Falls Church residents have a new choice for when pizza cravings hit. Paisano’s has opened on Broad Street to serve the local area some Italian favorites via delivery, and will soon be opening a small dining room for those who wish to take a seat and enjoy the pizzas and pastas the local chain has to offer.
Fouad Qreitem opened the first Paisano’s in Fair Lakes, and since then the chain has expanded to include 10 restaurants across Virginia, with more set to open in Springfield, Manassas and Ashburn.

Each restaurant offers the same combination of Italian staples and bar food favorites, centered on an award-winning pizza. Billed as New York style gourmet pizzas, these delectable dough creations combine sauce and toppings atop either a hand-tossed or thin crust base. While the restaurant cooks up 12 specialty pizzas at $17 for a large, even ordering a simple cheese and pepperoni pie is a delight. Upon each sizeable slice, pepperoni and a helping of Grande cheese (the finest, most expensive cheese on the market, or so the menu says) fight for savory supremacy. Beneath this thick blanket of toppings, the tart and sweet flavors of tomato are balanced in a slightly spicy, slightly herbaceous sauce that, while delicious, gives the toppings center stage. Even the very last bites of the crust – a part-chewy, part-crunchy reminder of the slice that once was – are well seasoned.

The popular complement to pizza, garlic bread, is served quite literally with a twist at Paisano’s. For $6, diners can order a 12-piece set of garlic knots, bite-sized pieces of dough twisted and seasoned with olive oil, cheese and garlic. While the fluffy texture of the knots is ideal, the seasoning isn’t ample enough to give a strong garlic flavor throughout.

For diners who find pizza less appealing, the menu also features salads made with fresh, local ingredients, calzones, strombolis, subs, sandwiches, wraps, burgers and a seven-plate Italian entrée section that shows what this restaurant can do with pasta. The $11 homemade meat lasagna, with the same delicious sauce and a heaping helping of cheese served alongside garlic bread and a small salad, is a mealtime contender.

With pizza restaurants being the go-to caterers for casual affairs, a restaurant in this category would be remiss not to have some type of chicken wing. Luckily, Paisano’s serves both a Buffalo and boneless variety of the wings. These Buffalo wings, served in hot, mild and barbecue flavors, hit the two most important marks for wing aficionados – they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The lightly breaded wings give just the right amount of crunch before teeth sink through to the juicy meat beneath.

A modest dessert section rounds out the menu, offering cheesecake, brownies and two Italian favorites – tiramisu and cannolis. At $5 for two, the cannolis are a must-order treat to end a Paisano’s Italian feast. In these decadent cannolis, a rich, chocolate chip-dotted cream is stuffed inside a crunchy, sweet fried pastry shell.

For its focus on quality ingredients and its reasonably priced gourmet fare, Paisano’s may possibly become a local favorite, and will certainly become a popular alternative to big chain pizza restaurants in the area. And with new franchises popping up across the Washington, D.C. area, diners with a hunger that can only be satisfied by a slice of perfectly gooey pizza won’t need to look far to get their fix.

Paisano’s is located at 244 W. Broad St., Falls Church. For more information, call 703-534-8888 or visit Restaurant hours are Sunday – Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday – 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.