Familiar with Paseo? You know, the Seattle institution that has “the best sandwich in the city”? Yeah, you love Paseo. Your friends love Paseo. Your mom loves Paseo. Even your dog loves Paseo, because that day a piece of marinated roast pork fell out of your baguette and onto the ground was the best day of Alan’s life. But you and Alan are are done with Paseo. Because Un Bien kicks Paseo’s ass.
The story of Un Bien and Paseo is a tale that could feasibly be pitched to Focus Features and debut at Sundance. Paseo used to be owned by a family (the Lorenzos) who created all of the restaurant’s recipes. Then in 2014, due to some lawsuits, the entirety of Paseo’s brand was sold at auction to some guy (who would be portrayed by Bradley Cooper). But what about the confidential arsenal of family recipes? Much like never receiving two AA batteries with your purchase of nearly every electronic device that requires them, the instructions to cook anything on Paseo’s menu weren’t included in the sale. Here’s where there’d be a heated montage of Bradley Cooper’s character with his head in his hands, sweating in a kitchen surrounded by test tubes and Caribbean spices. Finally, Paseo decided to hire some of the original staff and had them recreate the family-jewel sandwiches from memory. But unlike the essay portion of your SAT, this is not something they can just BS and get away with. And this is the Paseo you go to today.
Fast forward to 2016: two brothers from the Lorenzo family rise from the ashes and open a new restaurant called Un Bien, which is nearly a carbon copy of Paseo’s shack and Caribbean menu, but with the original, authentic, superior recipes that Paseo now has lackluster versions of. Paseo is like being trapped in a black-and-white television, whereas Un Bien is a technicolor world. The marinated roast pork has that one-of-a-kind tang, the grilled chicken has exponentially more flavor, and the spicy aioli is zippier than ever.
Now cut to you and your convertible, driving into the sunset on a windswept Seattle street, one hand gripping the wheel and the other shoving an Un Bien sandwich into your face. Somewhere, a pair of rose-colored glasses is left in the dust, but you’re never looking back.
We know you’re about to eat a massive sandwich that will hold you over for two days, but do not miss this. Corn on the cob that sits on an open flame for a few minutes and gets slathered with aioli, parmesan cheese, cilantro, salt, paprika, and fresh lime. This is the official best way to eat corn. Not great for sharing unless you have an intimate relationship with the person you’re eating with.
Pulled pork that’s been slow-cooked with the greatest marinade in all the land, and topped with grilled onions, aioli, romaine, cilantro, and pickled jalapenos on a toasty baguette. It has an indescribable magic that today’s Paseo can’t pull off.
Everyone raves about the pork (understandably so), but the grilled chicken sandwich is actually the unsung hero. It’s marinated perfectly and a char mark makes it to every bite. Perfect if you’re hungry but don’t want to feel like you’re going to die.