Paso Robles Airport - Matthew's
Thanks to a fellow chowhounder, after a trip up to See Canyon for the October apples, went on to Paso Robles airport to Mathews because of really fantastic review here (polar bear, was that yours?)
It was a delightful surprise to find this quality restaurant on Highway 101 - and in Paso Robles - and it has all the right elements and wonderful to be in such an inviting and unpretensious atmosphere. Small, warm, colorful decor, windows out to the flight line, dramatic glassed airport entrance was a surprise for a private plane airport.
Chef owner came by to chat and revealed he had been chosen as the best private airport dining destination by a private pilots group. And this is well-deserved.
The diner was not 100% on target, but the entire experience was commendable and would easily keep coming back to see how inventive and creative they are that day - they keep it fresh and in season and it appeared the entire staff was involved in this local food love affair.
I had the wild mushroom tart with melted fresh mozzarella and glace de viande - deep, rich sauce, flavorful mushrooms and almost too much flaky pastry puffs with cheese that would have robbed the remaining appetite for the entree if I had eaten it all. Haunting and tasty.
Companion had ceasar salad which was not as successful - dry croutons, large rings of onions, side tomatoes and too finely shredded parmasan cheese which is a good way to lose all its flavor. Okay as a salad, but not really close to a classic ceasar to label it as such. A bit disappointing .... as a ceasar salad.
My entree was the squash lasagne with homemade pasta - the closest I got to squash ravioli, which is a bit of a passion with me. It appeared as an unappetizing glop, but was quite tasty and intriging with its circle of perfectly cooked long green beans and drips of balsamic syrup to perk it up nicely. Taste outshown looks with this dish and it could have been improved with more substance in the squash filling and a few more layers of the very good homemake pasta "lasagne" sheets.
Companion had the duck with "secret sauce" and that was the biggest disappointment. Sauce had no distinguishable merit, other than being overly salty and the duck was too gamey to be pleasant, regardless of attempt to drown it in the oddly palid, salty "secret sauce". Edible, but not too enjoyable. But every dish is worth a try in my book and someone must have thought this was a great offering - it just did not click with either of us.
Dessert offerings were very enticing, but we had been richly fed by then so settled for some fresh fruit sorbets which were pretty expensive for the small, unadorned samples - but very flavorful and a nice finish to the meal. The triple melon sorbet was particularly pleasing, the spiced pear not so. But again, it was fun to dissect the flavors.
This is a true foodie place - the staff and chef are eager to share food talk, and will customize for you. The service was attentive and unobtrusive. The dining setting welcoming and definitely worth the trip and/or stopover on Highway 101.
Matthew's at the Paso Robles Airport - Highway 46 East towards Fresno/Bakersfield from Highway 101.
Appetizers, entrees, desserts, coffee and tip, no wine or drinks - for two $100