Restaurant: Paseo (Fremont location)
Last visited: July 19, 2013
Location: Seattle, WA (Fremont)
Address: 4225 Fremont Ave N
Phone: (206) 545-7440
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- 2 locations
- Award winning sandwiches
- Specializes in roast pork
- Long lines
- Very popular/local favourite
- Family friendly
- Budget friendly/cheap eats
- Vegetarian options
- Seafood options
- Limited seating
- Cash only
- Tues. – Fri. 11am – 9pm
- Sat. 11 – 8pm
- Twitter: @PaseoFremont
**Recommendations: Caribbean Roast, Paseo Press, Sauteed Prawns… anything pork.
Follow Me Foodie to Seattle started with a line up at a hole in the wall restaurant seating no more than 10. As a local, line ups pretty much suck all the time, but as a tourist it kind of adds to the experience (if it’s shorter than 20 minutes). I tend to be a lot more patient with line ups when I’m traveling and I’ve been anticipating Paseo for years now.
I could smell roasted pork and tangy vinegar as soon as I got near. Paseo is a long time favourite in Seattle known for “the best sandwich in America”, or even “the best sandwich in the world”, which bothers me because I’m not a fan of “best of” lists. Anyway, last time I was here I got really lost and ended up at Local 360. This time, I had to find it.
If I’m waiting in line for a sandwich in Seattle it is either going to be for the Porchetta at Salumi, or for this – so far. I was forewarned Paseo would have a line up, but it wasn’t a brutal wait. In about 20 minutes (including 10 minute wait time after ordering) I had a massive sandwich in hand, and it was totally worth it. Any longer than 30 minutes I would reconsider, but the sandwich was really good and probably a highlight in my 2 Days in Seattle. I never expect to be overly impressed with a sandwich, but more often than not, a city’s “world famous sandwich” is famous for a reason.
I don’t have an obsession to find a city’s “best sandwich”, but I like to have a benchmark and get an idea – see the Muffuletta from Central Grocery in New Orleans, the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich from Schwartz’s in Montreal, and the Pastrami Sandwich from Katz’s Deli in New York. In Vancouver it is probably the Porchetta from Meat & Bread - see my Top 20 “best sandwiches” here… so maybe I do have an obsession with sandwiches?
It’s 2 pieces of bread and stuffing. It’s not brain surgery, but if you can make a name for yourself making something as easy as sandwiches, then I want to try it.
It was about a foot long sandwich and you’re eating an entire baguette. They’re most known for their roast pork sandwiches, but they have seafood and vegetarian options too. They identify as Caribbean food, but Caribbean wasn’t first to come to mind after trying their sandwiches. Most of the menu features sandwiches and the rest of the menu are entree versions of the sandwiches without the baguette. They could probably just sell 5 sandwiches here and they would do fine.
And this is the kind of sandwich Paseo makes. It’s an oily mess to eat and I loved every bit of it. A sandwich without drippy sauces or stuff falling out of it doesn’t have enough stuffing, so this was on mark. I wasn’t surprised considering there were containers of wet napkins next to the cash register, which I wasn’t thinking was for babies. I was expecting a delicious sandwich at Paseo and I’m pleased to say I got one… or two.
If this shiny transparent wax paper has no appeal to you, then move on. It wasn’t overly greasy, but it is a bit oily. I obviously enjoyed it as to why there was nothing left and I would line up for one again. I understand the line-up of locals and tourists, and although I won’t say “it’s the best sandwich I’ve had in my life”, it was an excellent and affordable sandwich. I would recommend it as a lunch spot even though I could have it for dinner, but as a tourist with only 2 days in Seattle, dinner spots are precious.
On the table:
- Pork shoulder coated in Paseo Marinade & slow roasted ’til falling into succulent morsels. All sandwiches are on a lightly toasted baguette slathered with aioli (seasoned mayo) , fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, crisp romaine lettuce & crowned with caramelized onions. $8.50
- I’m calling it a “must try” because if you’re coming to Paseo this is the “must try”, and I think if you have 2-3 or more days in Seattle you should try it.
- It was actually shockingly similar to Hubbub Sandwiches Pork Sandwich in Vancouver, which I love so much.
- After trying this I can’t help to think Hubbub was inspired by Paseo since it opened after in 2011.
- “Caribbean” were not the flavours that came to mind, but “holy crap, this is pretty good” was.
- It was well stuffed with whole chunks of roasted pork which were moist and a bit oily, but not as juicy as I’ve had.
- The marinade was not obvious with herbs or spices and it didn’t have a sauce besides the natural juices it was braised in.
- I think it was brined or braised in vinegar, or a citrus sauce of orange and/or lime or lemon juice.
- It didn’t taste very acidic, but it was tangy and I could smell the vinegar.
- It was sweet, savoury and tangy, and the sweet was from the caramelized onions which were thick cut.
- The caramelized onions were more like fried onions than slowly caramelized, but they were still very tender and soft.
- The whole leaf romaine lettuce was also grilled and together with the onions they gave a nice crunch and texture to the meaty sandwich.
- The tang of pickled jalapeños helped cut through some of the grease and I loved that kick of spice and gradual heat.
- The garlic aioli was slathered on the toasted baguette and the baguette was excellent.
- The baguette was crusty and crunchy on the exterior and soft and chewy inside and it was a quality baguette.
- There was a good meat to bread ratio and little cilantro, but you can ask for more if you want.
- I could taste every ingredient and it was a well seasoned and layered sandwich that was hard to put down.
- 6 Black Tiger Prawns sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with our garlic tapenade. All sandwiches are on a lightly toasted baguette slathered with aioli (seasoned mayo) , fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños, crisp romaine lettuce & crowned with caramelized onions. (Optional spice 1-5 stars) $8.95
- Tiger prawns aren’t sustainable, so it’s not the ideal choice of prawn, but I still wanted to try it and it was recommended.
- This was more savoury than the Caribbean pork roast and it was super garlicky with sauteed garlic and garlic mayo.
- The flavours were more aggressive and sharper in this than the Caribbean pork roast. Garlic breath beware.
- If I didn’t know it was a Caribbean place I would have thought this was Asian inspired and the garlic tapenade tasted Chinese to me.
- The garlic tapendae almost tasted like soy sauce and garlic so it reminded me of Chinese sauteed prawns with garlic.
- It had the same grilled whole leaf romaine and sweet thick cut caramelized onions for textural contrast.
- It was a savoury, sweet, tangy and spicy sandwich and I asked for it medium spicy and it was more like mild-medium to me.
- As much as I loved the flavours in this, I lost the prawns and I couldn’t taste them much under the thicker baguette.
- It needed double the amount of prawns for more bite.
- The prawns were quite small too, but at least they weren’t overcooked and dry.
- The bread is an excellent baguette and it was the same one used above (see description above).
- This sandwich also reminded me of the Tiger Prawn Sandwich from Hubbub Sandwiches, and that one needed more prawns too.