Paesano's in Ann Arbor, MI
How good or bad is the food and are the wine tastings?
Only if in the area?
Don't waste a meal, your time or money?
Hard to say--it's uneven, but it's got personality. I've had both some of my best and some of my worst meals in Ann Arbor there. Pastas are generally very strong; try one with a seasonal ingredient (this time of year they often have a turnip sauce), and you will likely be very happy. I have not had good luck with fish there *at all*. Basic salads are great. I have not personally gone to the wine tastings but have always been happy with the wines I've gotten with dinner, and I think they know their Italian wine. Service, too, is hit-or-miss--sometimes you'll get a great, effervescent server who knows all about the wine and just makes you want to hang out and keep eating or drinking, sometimes you get a sullen clock-puncher. Normally this would be a damning description, but they get it together more often than not, and when they do they come closer to real Italian food than anyone else in town IMO. I always thought this was my own idiosyncratic reaction, but the Ann Arbor Observer said as much in a recent review.
Paesano's is my "go to" Italian restaurant in Ann Arbor. it used to be Bella Ciao, but not no mo'. Chef Isabella is definitely more inspired than the cooks in either Grazi or Palio's. Menu has great seasonal variation. There is a wide range of antipasti. Salads and soups are good. The last couple of meals I had there were great - Veal Scaloppine and Spaghetti Carbonara. Carbonara is not on the menu right now. Can't speak to the fish offerings. The food, in general, is well-prepared. Given that, I'm sure it's still possible to order something you won't like, but that's personal taste. Haven't been to the wine tastings, but I've enjoyed the wines off the menu. You can buy wine to go. I've never had a problem with servers, except perhaps, one who was too talkative. The pace of a meal is unrushed and relaxed, in my experience. Plus, you can sign up for Italian lessons.
Just had my first meal there this past weekend, and was very favorably impressed. The endive and artichoke salad was terrific. I liked my very simple pasta with white truffle. My wife had a squash cannelloni, which she liked alot, too. Service was fine. They were very busy, so we didn't get a lot of attention, but the meal was well paced.
it would not be my top choice in Ann Arbor. I have been there for lunch occasionally and have generally been happy. I like the pastas (I agree with the earlier post about the seasonal selections) and salads a lot. Soups have also been good. Our experiences with meat and fish have been weak. I actually like Gratzi better all around, though I know that's controversial :) I thought Bella Ciao was so so the only time we went, but my husband liked it better than I.
I regularly get the lasagna (dine in as well as carry-out). I know it is not the most sofisticated choice, but it is by far the best i have ever had. They also have a really good pear/gorgonzola/walnut salad....and their bread is pretty good, too.
I have noticed that the rest of their menu is pretty pricey.