Piesano's has a great atmosphere. The sit-down restaurant's walls are plastered with Italian stucco and the occasional mural. The waiters are all dressed nicely in black and white, basically what you would expect servers in a high-end restaurant to wear.
Our service was exceptional. (NOTE: Please see updates at the end of this post.) All of our food came out at the perfect pace. The only thing worse than a restaurant that takes too long to bring your food is one that brings out all of your appetizers and entrees at once. So, your entree ends up getting cold or just sitting in its juices while you hastily stuff salad in your mouth. Piesano's did not have this problem. Everything came in order, without much lag time in between. We never wondered where our food was. Another plus was the frequency of our waiter visits. Our waiter did a great job of being both attentive and invisible. We barely noticed when he refilled our water glasses or brought our food out, and he was always pleasant.
Piesano's has done a great job with their menu. There are plenty of options for everyone, and everything you would expect a decent Italian place to have (and then some). Some appetizers include garlic knots, calamari, buffalo wings and mussels. Some of their gourmet pizzas include margherita, chicken pesto, San Genaro (sausage, green peppers and caramelized onions), baked ziti pizza (with actual ziti on top), three cheese philly, shrimp parmesan, and plenty more. You can also create your own pizza or calzone. They have a few subs, which I completely ignored since everything else looked so good. Their traditional entrees and pastas looked amazing. Five layer lasagna, baked cheese ravioli, eggplant rollatini, and chicken parmesan were expected, but they also threw in some specialty pastas such as chicken scarpariello (sausage, spinach and sun-dried tomatoes), Penne Piesano (peppers, onions, sweet peppers, mushrooms, chicken, Kalamata olives and potatoes on penne), spinach ravioli, penne alla vodka, and shrimp & mussels Fra Diavolo.
When we first sat down, our waiter brought us a basket of garlic rolls. We figured they would be the usual drippy rolls swimming in garlic butter, but they were actually resting in a balsamic vinaigrette and dusted with parmesan cheese. It resulted in a lighter tasting roll with a tangy flavor. It was very original, and a great start.
As our appetizer, we ordered the calamari. Not only were the calamari tender, but the batter was crispy and light. They came with 3 dipping sauces- marinara sauce, wasabi aioli, and what they call "bistro sauce." The marinara sauce was so flavorful it definitely made me think their pasta must be to die for! The wasabi aioli was pretty good, but not much more to it than heat. The bistro sauce was basically a spicy mayo. Another plus to the calamari was that they came with plenty of tentacles. Most of the time, you only get a couple of tentacle pieces with your calamari rings, but ours were about half and half.
We were so surprised when our bill came. The pizza was huge and fed us twice over, but it only cost $18. It could feed 3-4 people for lunch, especially if you get an appetizer. Appetizers were, on average, $8 each. We'll go back eventually to try their pasta.
7/10. You should definitely check out Piesano's. Go with some friends and share a huge pie. Definitely try one of the appetizers.
Update 11/10/09: Pasta!
We went back for their pasta (again, at lunch time) and were not disappointed. I had the spaghetti and meatballs and Alex had the baked ziti. The pasta was cooked al dente and the marinara sauce was flavorful and meaty. The meatball had a great texture, soft and well-seasoned. Yes, it was only one meatball, but it was pretty big and the marinara itself had meat mixed in throughout. Two would have probably been a better idea. For a lunch portion, I definitely got plenty of food. We paid about $8-9 each, and both of our meals gave us enough leftovers for another lunch. We also got 3 of those delicious garlic knots in balsamic again, although 3 is a weird number of rolls to give 2 people. Both dishes got a thumbs up.
Unfortunately, the service was not as good this time around. Our food came out quickly, but the waitress virtually disappeared after that. We sat around for at least 15 minutes after we were done eating before anyone passed by. Eventually, someone who seemed to be a manager asked how we were doing, and we had to ask her for boxes and our check. This knocked our overall rating down a notch.
Update 6/13/10: Service during lunch time has continued to disappoint me. It has been slow and very difficult to get in and out of there in time for a traditional 1 hour lunch break. The quality of their pizza has also dropped some. Dinner may still be as good as it was, but they are definitely getting lazy at lunch. Having said that, I still recommend this restaurant. The food is still very good, just not as amazing as it was originally. Again, this may just be a problem during lunch, when a lot of restaurants get sloppy.