Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Wild Zucchini Grill (Cafe Paesan)

Where: 69 South State, Orem, UT (near Center Street and Smith's)
Distance: 3.9 Miles
Website: cafepaesan.com
Restaurant Type: Single Location
Cuisine: Italian
My Frequency: 2 or 3 times
Who: John, Kalisha, and Ethan
Food: Penne Pasta with Creamy Tomato, Mushrooms, and Grilled Chicken Breast, Paesan Italian Sausage Pizza, and Kobe Steak Sandwich on a White Flatbread
Price: $15.91 for two people
My thoughts:

Cafe Paesan is the Italian version of Cafe Rio. The sign above the door says, "Entrate come amici, andate come famiglia," which means "Enter as friends, leave as family." Though I had been to Cafe Paesan before, this time I felt that I really had left as family.

The ambiance is really unique at Cafe Paesan. Nothing is spared in creating the feel of an Italian vineyard. From the greenery to the wearing brick walls to the light posts, you feel like you're somewhere special.

The menu seems overwhelming at first, but they break it down pretty well. Once you decide what type of food you're in the mood for, they have either a house specialty or chef recommendation for you. I went one step further and asked the chef, and he recited both his favorite and the most popular choice: Kobe Steak Sandwich.

Ethan really liked the creamy tomato sauce and the fresh tomatoes piled on top of his penne pasta, but felt that there was a bit too much cheese for his liking. It had a bit of a kick to it, which complemented the other flavors well. Though I enjoyed my bite, it was my least favorite of the three dishes that we ordered.

The Paesan Italian Pizza features sausage, zucchini, and Kalamata olives. The sausage has a mild spice, which gives it a good flavor. It is crumbled nicely on the flat-bread for consistently good bites. The crust was really thin, creating a floppy center, but the edge of the crust was cooked perfectly crisp. The zucchini, though a nice garnish, didn't add much to the overall flavor. The Kalamata olives' unique, bitter taste overpowered the other flavors and didn't match the flavor of the dish very well. If I were to order this pizza again, I would hold the olives.

The pasta was okay, the pizza was good (minus the olives), but this sandwich was divine. The flat-bread makes it seem more like a taco or wrap, but they call it a sandwich. Whatever you call it, it's delicious. The flat-bread was fresh along with the other ingredients. The Kobe steak was tender and well seasoned. It's loaded with fresh lettuce, tomato, and peppers. The peppers were a bit spicy, but well balanced with the other vegetables. It was a bit messy and drippy, but it was well worth it for the scrumptious sauce.

Do differently next time:
I would probably order another sandwich or pizza for variety. Also, I'm always up for trying new desserts, but overall this was a very good trip.

The Verdict:
Good Choice. Fresh ingredients and unique options make Cafe Paesan a restaurant to try for sure and frequent if you want to experience a tasty bit of Italy more regularly.

Other Opinions:
Cafe Paesan on Urbanspoon

There was a legal battle for the name Paesan, so our Cafe Paesan in Orem has officially changed their name to The Wild Zucchini Grill. Here's the blurb from their Facebook: