December 20, 2011 | 9:30am
Pane Bianco's dinner service is still the new kid on the block, compared to its sandwich-style lunch or the booming business of its sister eatery, Pizzeria Bianco. We stopped by recently to check out Pane's expanded digs and sample the pizzas and salads exclusive to this spot's menu. We found a neighborhood joint that would be perfect for impressing out-of-towners over the holidays, or for grabbing a wood-fired pizza that lives up to the Bianco name (minus the infamous Bianco wait -- for now, anyway).
New to dinner is the traditional sit down experience with full wait staff. The large, open dining room was quaint and rustic. We caught a local munching antipasti solo at the vintage bar, and the dining room quickly filled up as the evening progressed. Long communal tables were perfect for larger parties or couples willing to share their roomy table real estate. (Don't worry, you won't be bumping elbows). Or place your order to-go at the registers and relax. Kind of like a spartan La Grande Orange smack dab in the middle of downtown.
Pane Bianco's lovely bar with all the daily specials on display.
Pane Bianco's succinct menu still manages to pack in plenty of flavor.
Just as at lunch hour, the dinner menu is parsed down and focuses on local ingredients overflowing in bins propped against the wall of the dining room. The menu and daily market specials were reflected on the large chalkboard above the vintage bar. Simple pizzas and salads with fewer than four ingredients.
The market salad at Pane Bianco, proscuitto and tomatoes, a perfect combination.
We opted for the market salad, a balsamic vinegar-dressed pile of heirloom tomatoes, thin-shaved prosciutto, red onions, basil, and kalamata olives. A light starter that was salty, savory and allowed each ingredient's flavor to shine. We followed the salad with a Rosa pizza, a white pie smothered with parmesan cheese, red onions, rosemary, and chopped pistachios. The meaty bite of the pistachios against the salty, pungent cheese were an tasty combo, although just about anything would be awesome atop the crispy wood-fired crust.
The one down side? No skipping long lunch lines. There's not a sandwich in sight on Pane Bianco's dinner menu.