January 2012 Update
Do yourself a favor. If you have $10 (plus tax & tip) to spare, head over to Paradiso and have a burger. Paradiso’s burger is simple: a half a pound of chuck in a homemade bun with no accoutrements. When I first ordered it I was skeptical, no cheese? no bacon? no fancy sauces? And then I took a bite. And another. And soon I could swear it was, by far, the best burger I had ever tasted. The secret to the flavor of Paradiso’s burgers is not one you can easily replicate at home: they are cooked in their wood burning oven and are imparted with the smoky flavor of the burning oak.
Their sliders (3 for $11) are equally as good, though these are made from Kobe beef and served with good, though unnecessary, caramelized onions. When I ate them, I had to stop the waiter and ask if there were any condiments on the bun, I really couldn’t believe a piece of meat inside a bun could be so flavorful and moist. But alas, they were plain.
The rest of the food during a couple of recent lunches at Paradiso was also solid and good, though not particularly exciting. They continue using the same sides for all dishes, which I don’t like. In any cases, if I go back to Paradiso it’ll be for the burger.
Last night it was girl’s night out with my friends Penelope, Desiree, Victoria and Paz. We went to Paradiso for appetizers, drinks and dessert.
As usual, I got the filet mignonettes ($12), slices of beef pan seared and served on crostini with a marsala mushroom sauce. As usual, it was very good. Desiree and Paz shared the Calamari Fritti ($10) and the smoked salmon pizza with goat cheese ($15). I forgot to ask them how they liked it, but I will report about it as soon as I hear from them.
We all shared a bottle of the Salentein Malbec, from Mendoza ($32). I don’t remember what year it was. It was absolutely delicious – it had a good body, not too light, not too heavy, soft tannins and a hint of oak and fruit. I see they sell it at BevMo, and I’ll have to trek over there some time to buy a few bottles.
For dessert (all $6) I had their famous sundae. I wasn’t as impressed with it as everyone else seems to me. The ice cream was just OK, the chocolate sauce very good but scant. It wasn’t a particularly big sundae either. The rest of the team shared a couple of apple crisps and they all seemed to be very happy with it. They thought it was just right.
The only negative part of the evening is that they close fairly early, they threw us out by 10 PM (this was a Wednesday night). Still, we had a very good time and I’d recommend it for a mom’s night out.
685 Bancroft Ave
San Leandro, CA