Monday, October 27, 2014

Panino Brothers – Eden Prairie, MN

We had a “new girl” starting at the office this week (it’s Trash, so she’s not really a new girl, but I do love to haze), so our team decided to go to lunch together to welcome her back to the flock. I was told to pick the place, so I went with a place close to work and someplace I hadn’t been before. I hadn’t’ ever heard anyone talk about this place, but I figured it was worth a shot.

First off, it’s difficult to tell where the entrance to this restaurant is. The restaurant itself is on the backside of a small business (restaurants and gyms) office/strip mall, so it isn’t readily viewable from the main road, and there’s no indication which door to go through once you find their part of the parking lot. No signage, no awning, no carpet out front. A little confusing. Once we got inside, there was a sort of roll-able counter top (maybe a host(ess) stand pushed back against the wall. Was this place even open? One of my co-workers (M.Giant)(yes, it’s a close-knit company consisting of only my closest friends), asked me if I had reserved the entire restaurant. So much for beating the lunch rush. Obviously, we got seated right away by a really cheerful and helpful server. She was fantastic the whole time we were there.

The menu has some burgers, salads, pizzas, sandwiches, and appetizers that you’ll likely recognize as “nicer” bar food. But I wanted the reason for their namesake – a panino. I had no idea what that was, even after reading the description on the menu. It sort of sounds like a calzone, but is more like a flatbread wrap than a calzone, as it turns out. They have a ton of kinds of paninos, or you can build your own with any of their ingredients. They also get bonus points for having both Pepsi and Coke products, including Diet Dew.

I’ve been watching old episodes of The Sopranos recently, so I went with the 3-Meat Gambino Panino. It makes me laugh just to say it, but it had everything I wanted for lunch that day. Roast beef, chicken, ham, swiss cheese, mozzarella cheese, and BBQ sauce. It sounded awesome.

I didn’t think the food took that long to come out, which is good, so you won’t have to wait long if you’re in a lunch rush – maybe because the place wasn’t that busy. The Panino is a large wrap. SERIOUSLY large. No one even came close to finishing theirs (except for me, but I am a big eater). Two people could have split this thing, so really consider ordering their smaller size panino – you’ll be glad you did. The meat was pretty thick cut, which I thought was awesome. There was a lot of cheese on here, and the BBQ sauce was plentiful. It was a little drippy, but the whole thing held its structure pretty well. Nothing slid out and I didn’t end up with any on my shirt. All in all, the wrap was pretty delicious and ULTRA filling. Be forewarned.

The waffle fries were pretty average, but the seasoned sour cream dipping sauce that came with it was fantastic. I really liked the combo, and I’m usually a ketchup guy.

Like I said, everyone went home with take-out boxes and were still stuffed. I saw the biggest plate of cheese fries I’ve ever seen, and a mega massive chef salad. Everyone seemed to be pretty happy with the taste of their food and I’m pretty sure people were happy with the size of their meals.

Overall, Panino Brothers is better than fast food, and more affordable than a fancy restaurant. They’ve got a bunch of beer specials (since it’s sort of a sport bar sometimes, and they have bands, so there’s definitely reasons to come back. It’s worth a visit if you’re in this neck of the woods, or if you’re at the Eden Prairie Mall for shopping or a movie. You might fall asleep in the movie because you’re too full, but at least the food is good. I just wish the outside of the place was more inviting.

Top 5 things about Panino Brothers
1. 3-Meat Gambino Panino
2. Seasoned sour cream dipping sauce for fries
3. Pepsi and Coke products
4. Really nice server
5. Pretty quick for lunch

Bottom 5 things
1. Confusing and uninviting entrance
2. It’s pretty dead inside, even during the lunch rush
3. TONS of different paninos to choose from
4. Maybe a photo of a panino on the menu would help
5. Just a little bit too hidden for easy finding

1 comment:

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