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New Paso Robles seafood restaurant a dream come true 

Merci Paso Terra

By Millie Drum — San Luis Obispo County Visitors Guide With the premier of Paso Terra Seafood, Chef André Averseng is blending a lifetime of experience in the culinary arts, enduring friendships, and a love for Central Coast to reach the culmination of his career. I spent a delightful afternoon with André and his wife Cristina as they prepare for the opening of their new restaurant. André reflects, “For my professional life, this is the top. I’ll be able to show what my 50 years of cooking has brought to me. And I will have people in my new restaurant with whom I can share.”

Andre’s infatuation with food began as a young boy in his mother’s kitchen in France. In 2002, Andre and Cristina discovered the remarkable resemblance of our wine country to his native home of Provence. Settling in Paso Robles, Andre opened a French pastry shop and later developed a very successful catering business. In retrospect, he adds, “We adapt ourselves to the market demands and meld into the new economy.”

“The name Paso Terra was born from our love of the local products, from the earth, the ranch and the sea. We have always used these products in our catering business,” explains owner Christina Averseng. “Farm to Table” has become a popular catchphrase in the Averseng’s food culture; promoting food safety, freshness, seasonality and most importantly, small-farm economics. Christina adds, “We continue the theme of sustainability. Whether it comes from the sea, the animal or the earth, all of our vendors work with sustainable practices. We work closely with Central Coast Seafood.  They fish for us in the morning and bring the catch to us in the afternoon. It’s the definition of fresh catch.”

Talented, creative, these characteristics of Chef André are justified once a plate of his set in front of you. Distinguishing him from the rest of fine Central Coast restaurants is his unique preparation of seafood and his variety of unusual tartars, carpaccios, and various smoked seafood and meats. The customary menu of meat, vegan and vegetarian dishes are complimented each week by special selections based on seasonal ingredients and the freshest seafood. André’s current signature dish, halibut poached in Lemoncello broth is a “must try before you die”, permanent item on the menu.

While the food speaks for André’s talent as a Chef, many are surprised to find the brilliant colored dining room paintings of sea life are also André’s creations. But that’s a different conversation saved for the dinner table. Upon being seated at Paso Terra Seafood, every guest is greeted with a complimentary glass of sparkling wine and ahi tartare appetizer. Guests can expect seasonally updated menus featuring fresh ingredients from local purveyors.

Christina adds, “We are mostly about great seafood but we have Andre’s award winning beef bourguignon and free range chicken, you just have to try it. We also take care of the vegetarians as well. Our wine list is small but very discreet. All the wines are selected to pair exclusively with our menu.”

Like to speak with the owners and chef? Executive chef Andre Averseng is often seen circling the dining room welcoming guests, giving suggestions, and gathering feedback from his customers.

Enjoy the intimate experience of Paso Terra Seafood on Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30pm to 9:30pm; Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 10:00pm. Reservations are highly recommended.  Call (805) 227-4100. Paso Terra is located at 1032 Pine Street in Downtown Paso Robles.

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About the author: Publisher Scott Brennan

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.