Taste Buds Doing a Happy Dance at Robert’s in Paso Robles
Paso Robles, California has easily worked its way into the loving hearts of The Roaming Boomers®.
It has small-town charm, 200+ wineries in the surrounding region, and possesses great restaurants like Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar.
Robert’s is located near the central park square of Paso Robles, features classic American cuisine, and the kitchen team led by Executive Chef Ryan Swarthout.
Chef Swarthout attended the renowned California Culinary Academy of San Francisco, and has worked with acclaimed chefs such as Mark Miller of Coyote Café, Alan Wong of Alan Wong’s and Shawn McClain of Green Zebra.
Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar ~ Paso Robles, California
Ryan has also spent extensive time living and working in Europe. While there, he refined his knowledge of European cuisine and wine while attending intimate cooking classes that focused on regional specialties. Ryan draws from these experiences and the fresh local ingredients available in Paso Robles, to create his menus featuring a fresh approach to classic American cuisine.
The restaurant is elegantly designed with white table linens, but they welcome their guests all gussied up or in their casual attire. In fact, as their website states, this is a “dining room that makes you feel both uptown and right at home”.
Note: click photographs for large view and available slide show.
Hors d’oeuvre, literally “apart from the main work”, also known as appetizers, starters, or the first course, are food items served before the main courses of a meal, and can be traced back to ancient Roman times.
They are the entrance ramp, if you will, to the chef’s main course. They set the first impression, and if done well, create a sense of anticipation for the chef’s pièce de résistance, the defining dish of the meal.
Chef Swarthout’s appetizers did their jobs admirably well.
We started with Dungeness Crab Cakes (young papaya asian slaw and sweet thai chili sauce), and Ahi Poke (wakami salad and ginger-soy vinaigrette). The chef noticed that we didn’t order his Braised Pork Belly (with asian slaw) and sent us out a third appetizer.
As you can see from the photographs above, the appetizers were beautiful to behold and even more enjoyable to nosh upon. However, the braised pork belly, although not the glamorous dish of the three, completely stole the show. Highly recommended!
Being very well versed in local Paso Robles wines, Chef Swarthout was also generous in providing us with delicious wine pairings as we journeyed through our meal.
For our main course, Carol chose Grilled Ribeye Steak (crispy mac n’ cheese, sautéed broccoli, blue cheese butter), while I’m opted for Mahi-Mahi (coconut rice, sautéed cabbage, papaya salsa, garlic-lime sauce).
I know that a great many of the world’s population, my wife included, get excited about a beautifully aged piece of beef. The steak, with its accompanying mac n’ cheese, was stunning. However, my palate prefers to enjoy something that was hitherto swimming in the sea.
Chef Swarthout’s Mahi-Mahi had my taste buds doing a joyous happy dance with each bite. The fish was perfectly prepared, and the coconut rice was a very delicious surprise.
Chef Swarthout’s Mahi-Mahi had my taste buds doing a joyous happy dance with each bite!
Little did Chef Ryan know, but my absolute all-time favorite dessert is Chocolate Soufflé. And what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a piping-hot plate of molten chocolatey wonderfulness with a sweet late-harvest wine. YUMMM!
Well, I hope I’ve made it clear that a visit to Paso Robles, California must include an evening of dining at Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar. And when you do, please tell Chef Swarthout that The Roaming Boomers® say hello.
Disclosure: our wondrous dining experience was provided by the kind folks at Robert’s Restaurant and Wine Bar. Thanks!