Artisan is an American bistro owned by brothers Chris and Michael Kobayashi. Located in downtown Paso Robles, this was J and mine’s dinner spot on our first night in the States.
I had made a reservation months before, but despite this the hostess still look very confused when she found my name in her book. She wandered off for a bit, presumably looking for a table for us. We were eventually seated down the back with a view of the restaurant.
The space was light and bright, and as can be seen, very busy. The kitchen is open and there is a bar to the right of the entrance. It seems that all American restaurants, fine dining or otherwise, have a bar. Said bar will always have at least one TV. The TV, or TVs, will be tuned to sports.
J regularly dines at Artisan when he is in Paso, and the dish he always orders to start with is the jalapeño cornbread, honey butter.
These cornbread sticks come out piping hot in what we presume is a custom made cast iron pan. I liked the cornbread, it is definitely the lightest cornbread I have ever had. J loves it and I let him eat most of the pieces.
For entree (or appetizer as the Americans call it) J had a prawn dish with green peppers.
He liked it but said the prawns could have been crunchier.
I had the charcuterie: rabbit liver pâté, sopressata (after seeing it served on the table next to me).
The serving size was appropriate (not too big) but the pate could have done with more flavour, it was a bit mild. And if you are wondering what the round green things are, they are olives!
For main course J had grilled swordfish, summer beans, eggplant caponata.
I had the hanger steak with garden beans and onion rings.
Best onion rings ever! Not a hint of grease on them and super crunchy. The steak was amazing too. I have had my fair share of steak over the years but this one was right up there in terms of flavour and tenderness. Loved every mouthful of this dish.
Drinks wise, J had a beer to start with and I had a glass of Adelaida cellars, chardonnay hmr estate. We then both had another glass of white, but I can’t remember what it was.
We wisely decided to share a dessert and chose the chocolate malted milk cake, rice crispy nougat, rocky road.
I admit it, it beat us. We couldn’t finish it, as much as I wanted to. The cake had a mousse like filling and wasn’t as rich as expected. And the nougat was lovely and sticky.
The service wavered between attentive, disinterested and rushed.