Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

June 25, 2013 at 10:49am

First Bite: Paesan Kitchen and Bar in Tacoma

Paesan hopes to be a gathering place with shareable pizza pies. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

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"Good things come to those who wait," or so they say and in this case it holds a kernel of wisdom.

In February, the Weekly Volcano heard the owners of Tacoma's The Social Bar & Grill - Jason Bailey, Philip Panagos and Rodel Borromeo -would be venturing into the world of wood-fired pizza. Their new sister store, Paesan Kitchen and Bar, would open sometime in May 2013. Of course, businesses do not open on time in Tacoma, and concerting the Dock Street Sandwich Company into the Paesan took longer than expected.

Good news. Paesan is open for coffee and lunch today, and dinner beginning tomorrow.

I was fortunate enough to get a sneak peek this past weekend.

Paesan's ambiance does not match the Social's cool, steel bar candlelit environment. Instead, I was greeted with more warmth and an intimate atmosphere. A mosaic, wood-burning oven anchors the entrance while the lounge is outlined by carefully distressed wood.

The menu focuses on artisan pizza pies that are baked in a swift 4 minutes. Instead of going straight for the pies we opted to begin with a few starters. The rustic bread ($4) features four slices of semolina rosemary loaf from Seattle's Macrina Bakery. Delivered fresh daily the crust has a nice crispness with a cloud like flavorful interior. I'm inspired to only use this loaf for all future bready needs. The bread is best utilized to sop up the garlic herb and white wine butter sauce that the roasted mushrooms ($9) swim in. I advise not to leave the diced red peppers, garlic and onion that the mushrooms may have left in their wake.

The pear Gorgonzola salad ($9) is a real treat. Fresh pear plays VIP in this starter with just a peppering of greens. A delectable combination of shallots, thyme, extra virgin olive oil, truffle oil, sea salt and a balsamic reduction playfully intermingles in each nibble, flavorful and light at the same time.

Each pizza pie has a light, crispy artisan crust topped with a pomodoro sauce and fresh mozzarella as the foundation. This is not your traditional Americanized slice of pizza topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage and the usual suspects. Instead, you'll find a pancetta and pear combo with garlic oil, caramelized onions, thyme and Gorgonzola, or our choice of the evening the puttanesca topped with anchovy, Kalamata olives, capers, diced tomato and chile flake. The crust whispered a bit of smokiness lent to it from the wood burning fire, nicely melted cheese and an even distribution of toppings. Our selection of the evening had a bit of a Mediterranean flair and a nice salty finish. Other adventurously tasty toppings on the menu include salmon belly, basil and fennel with the average pie costing you $12 to $15.

The cocktail list highlights a nice selection of craft beers and wines with a few craft cocktails such as the Basil Cooler and a few playfully Italian monikered specialty drinks.

In the daytime hours you can pick up your morning joe needs, beans provided by local roaster Bluebeard Coffee. A perfect stop for neighboring residents or those who may want to take in the waterfront view en route.

Panagos says after the summer months, delivery options may become - including some Socials menu items.  

Overall you can expect a unique dabbling of flavors that stand-alone from its big sister store, and a tasty experience to fulfill your pizza admiration desires.

Paesan Kitchen and Bar, 1701 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.301.3835

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,
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