Mystery Diner: Paisano’s in Richmond serves up hearty family-style takeout

When looking for the right meal for a recent birthday, we sought out a place with the right pasta dishes to feed quite a variety of tastes.

We looked at a few menus and were happy to see the many takeout family-style options atop the online menu at Paisano’s on Broadway in Richmond.

Paisano’s estimates that each serves four people with a half-pan option of lasagna, spaghetti with meatballs, sausage rotini or rigatoni Bolognese for $39.

The family-style menu also includes chicken Vesuvio, Marsala or Parmigiana for $48 or shrimp scampi over linguine for $58.

We were sold, and picked out the lasagna, a favorite of our birthday diner. When I think of a good lasagna and romanticize about having it as a meal, this is the lasagna I think of. It’s got a ton of the meat sauce (cheese is also available), and it is tender, so you can use your fork to easily cut through the layers and get the right amount in each bite.

It came with a family-sized salad and two breads, along with oil for dipping. That right there might have been enough for us, but we have a few diners who always would prefer to try out the gnocchi ($16) at Italian spots.

Paisano’s makes it the way we like it the best, in a vodka marinara cream sauce. It’s a big serving, the price is right, and wow, is it good. The potato dumplings hit the perfect mark of being firm enough yet tender.

Again, this is the gnocchi you think of when you think of the best version of this dish.

A birthday dinner wouldn’t be complete, however, without the right piece of cake.

We found that on the menu with the Limoncello Mascarpone Cake ($6).

The mascarpone is a thick, creamy topping, while the cake layers are also incredibly moist and flavorful. Each bite is rewarding, and I wish we had ordered two slices.

They also have tiramisu ($6), cannoli ($4), seven-layer chocolate cake ($8), key lime pie ($6), salted caramel crunch cake ($6), chocolate mousse cake ($6) and brown cow cheesecake ($6) available.

The process for ordering from Paisano’s on Broadway is simple, but make sure that you call early enough to get your food at your desired time. Calls are taken starting at 3 p.m., and I called at 3:12 p.m. on a Wednesday, and the earliest order availability was 5:15.

That worked perfectly for me, in fact, I asked for 5:30 p.m. instead. But had I waited until later, I wouldn’t have had as much luck.

Paisano’s is a popular restaurant for good reason, and they have adjusted well in providing their family-style meals in takeout containers that, even after a relatively long drive home on a cold night, kept them still incredibly warm and ready to eat when I arrived.

• The Mystery Diner is an employee at the Northwest Herald. The diner’s identity is not revealed to restaurant staff when ordering or picking up the food. If the Mystery Diner cannot recommend the establishment, we will not publish a story.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Paisano’s on Broadway

WHERE: 5614 Broadway Road, Richmond

WHEN: 5 p.m. to close Wednesday-Friday, 4 p.m. to close Saturday-Sunday

INFORMATION: Call 815-678-4500 or go to paisanosonbroadway.com