“A thousand people on a Friday night can’t all be wrong,” wrote one San Antonio food critic about Paesanos some 20 years ago. That hasn’t changed—the volume, if not the specific number—though somehow there’s rarely a wait. This place isn’t fancy or fussy (there are no white tablecloths and it can get noisy), but the food has been consistently wonderful for more than 4 decades. Most notable: the signature shrimp Paesano, lightly breaded and dredged in a buttery lemon sauce whose recipe is often copied but never quite mastered. Little-known fact: The center-cut tenderloin served here is better and less expensive than that at any of the city’s pricey premier steakhouses. Start with the house salad (the dressing is delectable—what is it? They’ll never tell.) and have an appetizer sampling of the shrimp Paesano, followed by a steak or excellent red snapper. All main courses come with a side of pasta (stick with the butter garlic or you’ll feel like you’ve ordered a second meal). The Alamo Heights crowd treats this place like it’s their personal dining room; you never know who you’ll run into, from a Spurs player to a local pol. The kitchen stays open late—a rarity in this town. Paesanos has two other San Antonio locations: Paesanos 1604, 3622 Paesanos Pkwy. (tel. 210/493-1604), and Paesanos Riverwalk, 111 W. Crockett St., #101 (tel. 210/227-2782), both of which will satisfy but neither of which has the same panache.