Welcome to our first Entrée column. Each month, PASO Magazine will enjoy lunch or dinner with a notable community member at various restaurants around town and share the experience with our readers. Enjoying great food, restaurant owners, chefs, and community contributors here in Paso Robles, we serve up a fresh Entrée dining experience to share the flavors that make our community the place we all love.
For February, I joined PASO Magazine owners Nic and Hayley Mattson for lunch with 2017 Roblan of the Year Tom Madden and his wife, Lori Lamacchia.
Tom booked us a table at CATCH Seafood Bar and Grill – his go-to lunch place – where owner and chef Chico Mara arranged a little bit of everything.
We met for lunch and, as the conversation flowed, we feasted on fabulous food prepared by Chico and his long-time cook, Rudy, and served by his wife, Teresa, and their daughter, Vanessa. Additional CATCH staff members include “the two Jesus” cooks and Chico’s daughter-in-law, Savannah. The afternoon was wonderful – it was all about enjoying great food and great service with great people at a great restaurant!
Pan fried calamari & Crab cakes
Nic: This is the best calamari I have ever had; it’s so tender. And the crab cakes were amazing.
Tom: I love the crab cakes and the calamari is the most tender you can have anywhere.
Lori: The calamari is the best.
Scampi, scallops & sautéed mushrooms
with fresh garlic, capers, basil, lemon, and wine sauce
Nic: Wow – all of this is really, really good. What Lori said when we first sat down is ringing true – why go to the coast? The best seafood is right here at CATCH!
Hayley: The scallops are incredible!
Tom: The sauce is off the hook!
Rack of Grass-Fed New Zealand Lamb with roasted potatoes, broccoli, snap peas, carrots, and green beans
Nic & Hayley: For us pescatarians, there are plenty of cooked-to-perfection vegetables, lightly sautéed.
Meagan, Tom & Lori: The lamb is beautifully prepared, tender, with just the right balance of seasoning to allow us to taste the freshness of the meat.
Opah, Seabass, Halibut, Shrimp
Nic: The key word here is fresh. This is the best halibut I have ever had. Every bite is a taste explosion.
Tom: The ribeye is outstanding. I will be taking some of this home with me. And the fish – simply delicious. Chico has fish delivered fresh daily.
Lori: Each piece of fish is prepared to bring out the true flavors; it’s tender, and melts in your mouth. Like I said earlier, why go to the coast for seafood? CATCH is the place to be for the atmosphere, the people, and definitely the food.
Double Chocolate Cake
Nic: The top base on the chocolate cake is creamy without being overly sweet, and the middle layer has a nice hearty consistency; the flavor throughout is very good.
Hayley: The chocolate cake, from Cambria’s French Corner Bakery, is very rich, but it doesn’t have a bitter bite; very smooth.
Meagan: Crème Brulee – my absolute favorite! It’s light and creamy, packed with flavor. This is the perfect finish to an amazing meal with friends.
Tom: Chico makes this Crème Brulee with fresh vanilla beans. It’s not too sweet, it has a nice, creamy consistency. The chocolate cake is not overpowering; its flavor is subtle yet satisfying. And the garnish of fresh berries is a nice touch.
More about Chico
Chico has been in the restaurant business for over 30 years, 26 of them along the Central Coast.
Born in Guadalajara, he came to the United States at the age of 13, lived in Cambria and worked in the fields as a farmer. At 15, he started working in the restaurant industry. After six months of doing dishes and helping the cooks, Chico said, “I discovered what I truly was meant to do.”
Chico has been living in Paso Robles for over a decade. Many locals will remember his highly successful Chico’s Café. Well, he wanted to expand and opened the larger, newly styled seafood bar right next door – and CATCH Seafood Bar and Grill was born!
Watch Chico work his culinary magic and sample some of the delicious food while sitting at the bar or dine at one of many tables located throughout the restaurant.
“I always wanted to build a restaurant with an open kitchen,” Chico said. “We want everyone to feel like family when dining here. We get a lot of repeat customers, sometimes three or four times a week; having the support of the local community is everything.”
Head on over to CATCH Seafood Bar and Grill, located at 836 11th St. in Paso Robles, and tell Chico we sent you! Open weekdays for lunch, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. On weekends, CATCH serves breakfast and lunch from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Daily specials on the chalkboard inside, menus online.
For reservations or more information, call 805-239-3332, see catchseafoodbarandgrill.com, or check out the Facebook page.
*Story originally published in PASO Magazine, pasomagazine.com, February 2018