Sometimes being a social media junkie pays off. I am a Facebook, Twittering, Pinterest, and Blogging fool and I adore the restaurant leads, friends and snarky memes I have gotten off my trolling cyberspace. My best find to date is a fantastic eatery in Paso Robles called PasoTerra. I found them first via a Facebook fan page where their pictures and descriptions of the dishes drew me up over The Grade to downtown Paso Robles. My dinning companion (Gary) and palette thanked me for the visit to a chef that is an artist with a canvas and cuisine.
|Chef Andre and wife, Chef Cristinia
Upon walking in PasoTerra, I was instantly enchanted by the huge under the sea painting. I took a minute to gaze upon the passion on the canvas as the loveliest proprietor came out to greet us. Cristinia told us that her husband had painted all the pictures and Chef Andre Averseng came out to bask in my praise. A chef with a French accent, who can paint instantly gains affection from my heart and I enjoyed his telling of the stories that went behind each painting.
We were offered a glass of bubbly as an aperitif, a gorgeous Blanc de Blanc
and a amuse busche of Ahi tuna in a wanton cupcake shell with soy, sesame oil, lemon juice and a touch of cayenne. It was then I remembered that I had met this chef years ago at the Pallet to Palate event when he was running a catering company called Dining With Andre. The catering still exists, but now so does a charming bistro where you can sample his amazing fresh seafood offerings every night.
We ordered a bottle of Jack hammer Pinot Noir and Gary marveled at the saying on the bottle:
There are three laws of American engineering:
1. Always use the right tool for the job
2. The hammer is the right tool for any job
3. Anything can be used as a hammer.
Gary started with the Lemon Cheese Cake, which was an amazing air filled custard with a fresh blackberry and sweet whipped cream all resting in a raspberry purée. We told Cristinia (Andre’s charming wife and front of the house extraordinaire) of our wedding dinner with a French chef gone insane because Gary insisted that all guests start with dessert first. Andre giggled at the story and told Gary how he would have roasted him very slowly on a spigot. I loved the laughter coming from the kitchen and that Andre took the time to come out in between courses to talk, laugh and share his talent.
Chef Andre is making everything from scratch, including the bread made with a hint of rosemary. I had the Soup de Jour, which was beet top puree. This was an amazing amalgamation of flavors and inventiveness. My appetizer course was the Blue Crab and Mushroom Strudel. My first comment was “Everything should be served in a strudels”. This was the first time I have had mushrooms with crab and the earthiness and richness made my knees weak. It was all wrapped up in beautiful filo dough with a micro green accompaniment.
Next was the Scallops Sauté with Beurre Blanc au Caviar and Vodka. My six huge divers scallops were seared to perfection and drizzled with black caviar that added crunch and brininess to the flavor. It was served with shredded summer squash, cherry tomato, haricort verts (French green beans), carrots and red cabbage. Everything was cooked to perfection with an eye for detail and the plate looked as pretty as a picture. Gary had the Crab Fondue for Two served with crostinis. This luscious cheese dish and big chunks of crab were spreadable on the perfectly cooked crostini (they were still soft in the middle)
We shared more stories, laughed endlessly and truly fell in love with this bistro, the chef and the charming crew. I had to try the Flourless Chocolate Roll with Chocolate Mousse and I was glad I did. The impeccable Mousse was sitting in a raspberry puddle and it was rich, creamy, heavenly flawlessness.
Paso Terra was conceptualized as a local product sustainable farmed restaurant. Chef and Cristinia visited and met with many farmers, tasted their vegetation, ate their fish, and ate their meat, then picked the finest to serve. Chef Andre embraced the usage of these products and has created a menu with flavors and presentation that is heralded as the best here on the Central Coast. Sighting his mother, Marie Blanc as his inspiration this chef is at the forefront of fine dining.
It was a pleasant meal in every conceivably way, from the service, surroundings, food and amiable chef willing to share and take a bow. I became an instant fan.
PasoTerra is located at 1032 Pine Street in Paso Robles, you can call them at (805) 227-4100. They are open Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30pm to 9:00pm and Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 10:00pm.