It felt like I just got in under the deadline at the last second in Phoenix last weekend. As far as getting that storied Pizzeria Bianco experience was concerned — waiting in line for several hours for a table — well, it seems like it's going to be a much different situation going forward, a lot easier considering the sign in the window indicating they'd be starting lunch service.
But that wasn't the only news out of the Bianco empire. Pane Bianco, Chris Bianco's sandwich shop on North Central Avenue along the Valley Metro light rail line, is now open for dinner. They do some mean sandwiches and, honestly, even better entrées. I've had the antipasti and the handmade mozzarella with local tomato and basil with olive oil at Pizzeria Bianco, and both were great. Of the three sandwich options at Pane Bianco, those two dishes are combined with great Bianco bread to presumably similarly extraordinary effect. Having already tasted those two things the only logical sandwich choice was the tuna sandwich.
Now, know that I'm no lover of tuna fish. Not tuna, per se, which I love, but the tuna fish sandwich. It's not something I order regularly. This is one of the better tuna fish sandwiches I've ever had. Red onion, Gaeta olives, lemon, and arugula on bread. Honestly, it's a very simple sandwich. It all starts with Bianco's bread — thin, crackery, crispy. There was a good ratio of tuna to bread and a representative layer of peppery baby arugula. And consider, the tuna was wet with oil and that thin bread stood up to it. Tangy, crispy, wet, without that roof-sticking quality you normally find with tuna, this was a winner.
That being said, your other options at Pane Bianco are even better. The meatballs were moist and flavorful with great tangy, chunky sauce. And the crespelle (below)? Well, they're delicate and delicious with whole basil leaf in the sauce — awesome. You get to sop all that great sauce with more great Bianco bread provided gratis. Thin, hard crust with soft, airy inside give. And now from Tuesday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
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