The beauty and expansive space that holds my newest love affair in Paso Robles starts with a unique chandelier at the entrance with beautiful glass fish and ends with the best churro I have sampled this side of the boarder. I could never live anywhere that doesn’t have Mexican food, and the Fish Gaucho Californian Mexican and Tequila Bar is the hottest offering that has captured my soul and my taste buds. Like a prodigious Mexican Ranchera, this eatery offers everything special and authentic in food, atmosphere and tequila.
I sat at the bar where the friendly and knowledgeable bartender, Tony recommends I start with the Clase Azul Reposado Margarita. Their tequila program offers the best in fine tequilas, hand squeezed, hand muddled margaritas. The bar also features signature cocktails, local wines, craft and imported beers. Tony told me of the numerous hours doing “research” on all the different styles of tequila and mescal. This labor produced a list over 100 of the world’s best tequilas from both the lowlands and highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Every Margarita at Fish Gaucho is hand crafted with fresh squeezed lime, organic agave nectar, and only 100% Blue Agave Tequila. There were so many to choose from I couldn’t make up my mind. He selected well. This premium Clase Azul reposado was mixed with agave nectar, fresh lime was served up with a burnt orange peel paired perfectly with my Ahi Crudo. This dish of a raw tuna treat served along shaved red onion, sliced Morro bay avocado, pickled Fresno chiles, micro greens, chile crema, and citrus lime vinaigrette was stacked like a volcano of flavor.
My husband joined me and he tried the Smoke + Fire + Blood Margarita. It had El Silenco mescal, charred jalapeno, blood orange juice and a fresh Peruvian lime. It was smoky and refreshing. We tried the Butternut Squash Mole Enchiladas, a third generation mole recipe that was outstanding. Mole when done correctly can make angels weep and this was flawlessness.
Executive Chef Chris Beckett whose jacket reads “El Jefe”, a common term used by the Mexican kitchen staff for the boss, came to tell us about his kitchen and recipes. This gentle giant recognized his stellar staff and wonderful heritage coming together to make this Fish Gaucho a successful Mexican eatery. We finished with a dessert so divine, Gary nearly cried, Churros with Mexican chocolate. Churros are a Mexican fritter, a deep fried prism shaped dough rolled in cinnamon sugar. This recipe was from the Chef’s grandmother and blew us away in its authenticity and taste. It was served with a cup of warm Mexican chocolate. This is a type of chocolate that is prepared with an assortment of spices for a very distinctive and rich flavor. Made from the Theobroma cacao plant, which produces the cacao beans used to make chocolate. This three-generation recipe was hot and crispy and covered in cinnamon. The liquid chocolate for dipping was so good; Gary drank it after the churros were eaten.
I came back later with my Producer who is a Mexican food connoisseur (she eats burritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner). We started with the Salsa Trio and Chips. House made warm chips are served with three sauces. A watermelon chipotle, avocado tomatillo and a piña jicama pico de gallo and we added fresh guacamole. It was a perfect mixture of hot and spicy, cold and refreshing. I then tried the daily special of raw oysters with the jalapeno mignonette. It was an enchanting combination of savory and hot. I then had the Diver Scallops that were seared medium rare resting on a bed of butternut squash succotash with roasted corn, onion, and asparagus. I loved this dish; it was a delightful mix of flavors and textures. Valerie had the Wet Gaucho Burrito that was bigger than her head. It came with carne asada, black beans, smoked poblano rice and was topped with salsa verde and a salsa rojo. She gave it two thumbs up. We finished with that heavenly Churro and a shot of tequila.
They are open daily from 3:00pm until 9:30pm and offer lunch of Friday thru Sunday at 11:30am.