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Paso Robles Report

JeniH | Jul 5, 2005 01:52 PM

Just got back from our trip in Paso Robles. As expected, we blew our budget at Turley. Most of the other places charge $5 to taste but Turley is well worth the extra $5.
First night, we had dinner at Bistro Laurent. I had the tasting menu wich was FANTASTIC. I can't wait to go back to Paso just so that I can eat here again!
The first on the menu was their tomato, escargot, and some kind of salad-like concoction tarte. The tart itself was so light and crispy. Not too thick or dry. Just right.
Then came a combination of my two most favorite things: lobster tail and fingerling potatoes. I'm not sure what kind of a sauce they were sauteed in but the sauce was light, and just right. It didn't cover up the two items and really let the lobster and potato stand out on their own. FANTASTIC.
Then came the filet mignon entree. It looked so good that the couple sitting next to me asked what I was having. Not only did it look good, but it tasted good too! The beef was so tender and cooked just right with the perfect amount of seasoning as to not over ride the wonderful meat itself.
The dessert was some kind of shaved ice with wine. I can't remember because I took one bite of it and just couldn't continue. The waiter noticed right away and brought me something else... SUCH GREAT SERVICE TOO!
I can say that if this restaurant were in L.A., it will do just as well. The food and service were top notch.

For the second day, we went to Panolivo for lunch and Buona Tavola for dinner, and Paris for dessert.
We had some simple sandwiches and an eclair to top it all off. All the ingredients were so fresh and the service was great. We'd DEFINITLY return here for lunch again! GET THIS- They will sell their wine for you to take, and take $10 off the list price. Their mark up is so ridiculously low! When they take the $10 off, you are paying what you would pay for a bottle at the wineries!!! Can you believe that?!

Dinner at Buona Tavola was so extremely disappointing. We should have seen the warning signs... a hound had told me that the SLO location was better and that you can find better in L.A... a couple we had breakfast with had dinner there the night before and did not seem too excited about it... the place was pretty much dead when we got there... and when I put our order in with the waitress I had thought to myself, "I wonder if it is too late to cancel our order and bolt. I just don't have a very good feeling about this place." The "chefs" in the kitchen did not seem professional nor interested in what they were doing. They had music on that did not fit the atmosphere in the kitchen. They were all just standing around and chatting, as if there was NOTHING else to do. It just seemed like there was a HUGE lack of ownership presence there. The people there were just there because they had to be there. There was no passion or care in the world there.
I must say though, the place is very beautiful from the outside and the waitress was nice. We had ordered the tortellini and pasta with meat sauce. Both very simple dishes that any decent Italian restaurant should be able to master with no problem. In fact, I believe these two dishes should be staples at any Italian restaurant. What I mean by staple dishes is, you can go into any Italian place and order it and feel safe that it will be decent.
The pasta was over cooked and the meat sauce had NO FLAVOR whatsoever to it. I was amazed. The tortellini was flavorless as was the sauce. I should have gone with my gut instinct and left when I first had that bad feeling because we knew that, even if we sent the dishes back, they could not have come back with something better.
We did not start out not liking this place. In fact, we had driven by the place and looked forward to our meal. When we were seated, we were so excited that we even asked to see the dessert menu so that we can plan a whole meal there.
So, to our dismay, we just HAD to leave and go elsewhere for dessert. We had stopped by Villa Creek, but ended up at Paris restaurant for dessert because Villa Creek's dessert menu didn't jump out at us.
The service at Paris restaurant was fantastic and their desserts were out of this world. I had the profiteroles and my other half had the berry crumble, which he just loved. The ambience at Paris is cute. I think that if they changed their flourescent-lit-cubicle-office ceiling, it would look much better.
I asked to see the menu and will definitly return to try it again sometime.

Here's where we will be going to FOR SURE when we return:
Bistro Laurent
Paris Restaurant
Panolivo

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