Updated on January 10th, 2022
Familiar with Paseo? You know, the Seattle institution that supposedly has “the best sandwich in the city”? Yeah, you love Paseo. Your friends love Paseo. Your high school trigonometry teacher loves Paseo. Even your dog loves Paseo, because that day a piece of marinated roast pork fell out of your baguette and onto the ground was the best day of Alan’s life. But you and Alan are are done with Paseo. Because Un Bien kicks Paseo’s ass.
The story of Un Bien and Paseo is a tale that could feasibly be pitched to Focus Features and debut at Sundance. Let’s set the scene: Paseo used to be owned by a family (the Lorenzos) who created all of the restaurant’s recipes. Then in 2014, due to some complicated legal stuff, the entirety of Paseo’s brand was sold to some entrepreneur named Ryan Santwire (who we’d cast Bradley Cooper to portray in the film adaptation). But what about the confidential arsenal of recipes? Aye, there’s the rub— those weren’t included in the sale. Here’s where there’d be a heated montage of Bradley Cooper’s character with his head in his hands, sweating in a kitchen surrounded by test tubes and Caribbean spices. Finally, Paseo decided to hire some of the original staff to recreate the family-jewel sandwiches from memory. Seems easy enough. But unlike the essay portion of your SAT, this is not something one can just BS and get away with. And keep in mind, this is the Paseo you go to today.
Fast-forward to 2016: two brothers from the Lorenzo family decide to open a new restaurant called Un Bien, which is nearly a carbon copy of Paseo’s shack and Caribbean menu, but with the original recipes they made at Paseo. Eating Paseo is like being trapped in a black-and-white television, whereas Eating Un Bien is living amongst a technicolor world. The marinated roast pork has a more vibrant tang, the charred caramelized onions are at peak sweetness, and the spicy aioli is zippier than ever.
Now, cut to you and your Mustang convertible, driving into the sunset on a windswept Seattle street, with one hand gripping the wheel and the other shoving an Un Bien sandwich into your face. Somewhere, a pair of rose-colored glasses is left in the dust.
Fire Roasted Corn
We know you’re about to eat a massive sandwich that will hold you over for many hours, but if it’s corn season, do not miss this. These cobs sit on an open flame for a few minutes before getting slathered with aioli, parmesan cheese, cilantro, salt, paprika, and fresh lime. With charred kernels and creamy tang in every bite, this is the official best way to eat corn. No offense, Fritos.
Caribbean Roast Pork Sandwich
Yeah, it’s the best sandwich in Seattle: pulled pork that’s been slow-cooked with the greatest marinade in all the land, and topped with sweet grilled onions, spice-flecked aioli, crunchy romaine, cilantro, and pickled jalapeño on a toasty baguette.
Un Bien’s Caribbean roast pork, plus tart banana peppers, smoked ham, and swiss. Yes. Sometimes the cheese doesn’t melt all the way, and the addition of stacked meat slices makes the whole thing even more cumbersome to eat, but we don’t fcking care. Follow your heart.
Grilled Chicken Sandwich
Everyone raves about the pork (understandably so), but the grilled chicken sandwich is actually the unsung hero. It’s marinated lovingly, and a char mark makes it to every bite. This is perfect if you’re hungry but not that hungry.
The garlicky tofu at Un Bien is fine, but we’re not sure we’d call it a delight. If you don’t eat meat, we advise you to get the “Onion Obsession” sandwich instead—the grilled onions are that good.