Oh Panes, how I love you. Since the day our friends told us about your delicious, creative sandwiches, using fresh ingredients and house-made bread... we've been a loyal fan. We no longer live down the street, so it has been years since we've been back. Last night, we admittedly intended on checking out the new hotspot, Fish Bar, so we can compare it with our new-found love, "GT Fish & Oysters". On a Wednesday night, we assumed it wouldn't be crowded. Not only was there a line of people around the walls, we were told it'd be a 75 - 80 minutes wait. wow...I think that breaks the record for me. 75 - 80 minutes???
I've been meaning to go back to Panes, so I wasn't too disappointed. But for some reason, the Bobcat was very hesitant. I insisted, so we ordered 2 sandwich "specials" -- Prosciutto, olive, pesto, red peppers, cheese.. and Chicken, tomatoes, basil, feta. We also ordered a side of tomato basil pasta, appetizer of stuffed mushrooms, and lentil soup.
First came the soup & bread. At first, I thought the soup was okay. Then I started to crave it... and I couldn't stop consuming spoonful after spoonful...it was addictingly good. The bread wasn't warm, but it was good. It reminded us of something we had, it felt like when we were kids, possibly in asia...the bread was sweet with a nice chew. I couldn've eaten baskets more, but that probably wouldn't have been a great idea, considering how much food we ordered. At this point, the Bobcat asked, "You know how sometimes, when you go back to somewhere you used to like, you realize it's no longer that good..." Ah-Ha. He wanted to preserve the great memory of 1237, Lakeview area, Panes... he was afraid it's end up sucking..but it didn't. We were pleased.
The side of pasta & stuffed mushrooms both came with a tomato basil sauce. The sauce was fresh, flavorful, divine. I can drink that sauce. The pasta wasn't al dente enough for me, but that can be overlooked. Mushrooms were fresh & juicy.
The prosciutto sandwich sounded like it would be very salty, and it was certainly salty, but not overbearingly. It was an interesting combination of flavors, nestled between crusty, warmly baked fresh bread. Their bread is really something. If white bread isn't so bad for you, I wouldn't brought home a couple.
The only thing I wasn't as big of a fan of was the chicken sandwich. Maybe I was overly stuffed, I'm not sure. But the feta made the chicken feel mushy when it wasn't.. at least I don't think.
All of this costed us a whopping $27 (including $2 dollars & change that I put into their tip jar). Ridiculously cheap. I can't believe those sandwiches are $5.99.
Panes Bread Cafe
3002 N Sheffield Ave (b/w Nelson & Wellington)