We were looking forward to our dinner at Paesanos at the Lincoln Height location on Saturday July 18 at 8:00 to celebrate two birthdays in our party of four. Whenever we are in San Antonio, we visit Paesanos and have been eating there since the 80s. The hostess and seating staff were very welcoming and friendly and we had no problem getting a table. Unfortunately, as our meal progressed, we understood why the restaurant was only ¾ full on a Saturday night.
Out lacksidasical waiter seemed less than thrilled to be there, much less wait on us. Two of us ordered a glass of wine and the other two ordered fountain drinks. He came back with only one glass of wine and one drink. We knew he had forgotten the other two drinks, but he blamed it one the “fountain drink dispenser being broken”. Hmm, doesn’t explain how he forgot the second glass of wine, but he returned later with the forgotten fountain drink and still no second glass of wine. “What type of wine did you order?” he asked again and I told him a third time. Here is the kicker, he finally brought my glass of wine midway through my dinner and wasn’t the Zinfandel I ordered, it was a glass of Chianti! But I was so grateful that he finally remembered to bring me any glass of wine that I didn’t tell him his mistake. Before we ordered, one person in our party asked the waiter to please repeat the specials and he rolled his eyes and reluctantly recited them again. The waiter brought over some great garlic bread, but soon picked up the plate and one person in our party never sampled any. If had been more available, I would have asked for another knife because I mine had dried food stuck to the handle. He must have had someplace more important to be because he quickly brought over our check and half heartedly added, “Do you want coffee or anything else?”
I can forgive any restaurant for bad service, however, the food has also was as uninspiring as our waiter. The lonely salad that arrived at our table had only pieces of cut iceberg lettuce with an unoriginal mix of vinegar and oil as dressing, no tomatoes, no carrots, just lettuce on a plate. The side pasta dish that accompanied our meal was only spaghetti and butter, bland enough to be served in any hospital or geriatric living facility. The chicken parmigiana and the chicken w/lemon and capers were adequate but not superior to any similar dish I have had at an Italian food restaurant chain, such as Carrabbas, Buco di Beppo or even Olive Garden. One of us ordered the fettuccini alfredo with sea food, it was a dish we all sampled and stood out as being an exceptional choice, the seafood: shrimp, clams and scallops (ordered without the mussels) were fresh and plentiful. The alfredo sauce was rich and creamy.
However, one great dish doesn’t make a restaurant and Paesanos has coasted so far on its past reputation and tradition of exquisite, fine Italian food. Overall, the food is bland, the wait staff is more interested in gathering in the corners to gossip and the manager or owner that was present was too busy promenading through the restaurant rather than doing some quality assurance visits with customers.
I regret suggesting this restaurant to our friends for our dinner, as there are other quality Italian food places in San Antonio. I will give those others a try and strongly encourage others to avoid this establishment.
Pros: fetticini alfredo dish
Cons: service, food