Chef Andre combines classic cooking with a modern twist
To say Executive Chef Andre Averseng enjoys cooking would be an understatement. The co-owner of Paso Terra with his wife, Cristina, Chef Andre has been in the food industry for more than half a century and continues to create new and exciting dishes that exceed the expectations of diners at their downtown Paso Robles seafood restaurant.
“I am a really passionate about my cooking, even after 60 years,” Chef Andre said. “I am all about taste, and I like flavorful food. I’ve learned over the years the right way to season food, to bring out all the flavors.”
Chef Andre said he is influenced by ethnic foods including Peruvian, Japanese food, Italian, Spanish and, of course, those from his homeland of France.
“I like to experience and create new things,” he said. “I don’t like to cook the same foods forever. Each time I create a new menu, there are certain items I feel really excited about. When people start to appreciate and love the flavor of the creation I came up with in my mind and with my hands, it is confirmed when they are enthusiastic about what’s happening with my menu.”
And just what makes Paso Terra stand out among the many eatery options in town?
“I would have to say it’s the way Andre prepares the food,” Cristina said. “If you like seafood, Andre is hands-down the best seafood chef in San Luis Obispo County and he loves the fact that people appreciate his food and appreciate the artistry in his food. There is a lot of customer satisfaction in seeing people happy, knowing that we made a great impact in their life. Both of us really love our customers, and we love serving them. It’s the same for our staff – here at Paso Terra, our kitchen is really well established and we are known for our efficient and friendly service.”
The seafood dishes on the Paso Terra menu are decadent as are the steaks, salads, appetizers, and desserts. The menu changes with the seasons, with classics given a permanent spot. New items include the Snapper Ceviche, the Cake Trio consisting of lobster, scallop and crab cakes, and the Greek Salad with Halloumi grilled cheese.
One of the more popular appetizers, the Grilled Octopus, is tender and bursting with flavor. Simmered in oil for 2.5 hours, it is prepared with a Peruvian style sauce with aji amarillo chili and served on a bed of butternut squash puree.
Customer favorites include the Halibut, sautéed in a traditional sauce with garlic, shallots, and wine before adding a French tangerine juice with orangecello and a bit of Dijon mustard.
The Mixed Seafood Grill is a delight with scallops, shrimp, branzino, and swordfish in a Middle Eastern Harissa Sauce. All entrees are served on a bed of mashed potatoes, with a variety of vegetables such as Japanese eggplant, carrots, and baby yellow squash.
Desserts, wine, and cooking classes
The after-dinner menu is just one more reason to linger at Paso Terra. Chef Andre is known for his decadent desserts, including his famous Lemon Cheesecake and his beautiful and light Pavlova, a meringue filled with whipped cream and fresh berries.
French wines as well as local wines and beers from the Central Coast adorn the menu. On Wednesdays, bottles of French wines are available for half price.
Be sure to ask about the private cooking classes. Whether its sushi, meat, appetizers, or baked goods, Chef Andre loves sharing his skills as a professional culinary instructor with students from all walks of life. And the classes are a great gift idea – call ahead to schedule an appointment.
Paso Terra is located at 1032 Pine St. in Paso Robles. Reservations are required; open Wednesday through Saturday, 5:30-9 p.m. For more information, call 805-227-4100.
–By Meagan Friberg