While I was staying with my Grandmother in Wisconsin earlier this month, I met my Dad and Stepmom for dinner one night at Paisano's in Richmond, Illinois. Richmond is a cute little town near the border of Wisconsin, about 1 1/2 hours north of Chicago.
My Mom, who lives in Florida but spends a lot of time with my grandma in Wisconsin, had told me that the restaurant was very popular, and advised me to call for reservations. I was skeptical that I'd need them on a Tuesday night, but sure enough, the place was packed. Once I was there, I understood why.
The interior of the restaurant is charming, with murals painted on the walls. (You can see a photo on their Web site, above. I'm not up for taking photos in restaurants). It was a little noisy, which didn't bother me at all.
I had a "special" shrimp dish. It was huge shrimp that had been butterflied, breaded, and pan-fried. The coating was crispy perfection and the shrimp inside were perfectly cooked. Each shrimp was topped with a dollop of a creamy and slightly spicy sauce. It came with spaghetti with olive oil and garlic (a welcome change from the pasta with red sauce that seems to be the standard side at every Italian restaurant in the Rochester area).
My Dad had his favorite Italian dish, Chicken Cacciatore. When he read the menu, he had been disappointed to see that the dish was prepared with boneless skinless chicken breasts (rather than bone-in and skin-on). He ordered it anyway, and was very happy with it.
My stepmom had a salmon dish that my aunt had told was one of her favorite dishes there. It was a special but I'm told it's usually on the menu. I can't recall much about it, other than it had a nice topping. I tasted it and it was good, but I'm not generally a fan of salmon so it's not like wanted to steal bits off of her plate. But my stepmom was happy with it.
My only quibble with the place is that everything on the menu was a la carte, so if I wanted a bit of veg with my meal, I had to order it separately. I ordered the marinated and grilled veggies for $4.50. My stepmom and I shared them, and we didn't even finish half of them -- they weren't anything special.
My dad and stepmom said they would go back even though it's a 45-minute drive for them. I wish we had something like it in the Rochester area -- I am so "over" Italian restaurants that mostly serve red sauce and alfredo sauce. Or maybe we do -- any Rochesterians have any recommendations?