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Paon Restaurant and Wine Bar

October 21, 2010 Rozanne Woodward 0 Comments

It is not uncommon for people to grow up in a community and then leave, only to return years later, a little wiser, horizons expanded and ready to contribute back to the place that gave them their start. Such is the case for Steve Barr, who came up through the local schools, claims the Boys & Girls Club as his "day care" and grubbed at Novak’s Burgers. In short, a true Carlsbadian.

After 30 years in the restaurant business – 15 of those spent managing a top Zagat-rated establishment in San Diego – Barr’s yearnings kept leading him home to the streets of Carlsbad Village, with a vision for a very swank, but comfortable establishment that would offer a truly unique and upscale dining experience.

Partnering with Mayur Pavagadhi, co-owner and president, they opened Paon in late August 2009, occupying much of the newly constructed three-story, Tudor-style building on Carlsbad Village Drive and Roosevelt Street. Very much a family affair, the classic Art Deco design throughout the main dining room, private dining area and full-service bar and lounge area – as well as a bi-level outdoor patio, which faces Roosevelt Street – is compliments of designer Dru White, Pavagadbi’s partner. Barr’s wife, Anne, is also an active member in this parbiership, bringing years of her own experience in the restaurant business.

Barr’s vision for Paon is "a place where you can celebrate a special event, but also be comfortable enough to wander in for a great dinner on a Tuesday night." The California-French cuisine is the masterpiece of Chef David Gallardo, who prepares the organic and locally grown food in traditional French cooking methods. This means braising and roasting and delicious stocks and oils that delicately complement, but do not overpower, the food. Whether your tastes run traditional or exotic, your palate will be satisfied after a meal at Paon.

But we cannot adequately speak of Californian or French fare without mentioning wine – not just any wine, but truly exceptional wine at surprisingly reasonable prices. While restaurants notoriously mark up the price of wine bottles four to five times, Barr is committed to providing excellent choices at every price point. What comes absolutely free of charge is Barr’s and his staff’s extensive knowledge of each wine, and which is best suited to each food selection. Barr’s expertise could place him in "wine snob" territory if he weren’t so darned nice and eager to pass along everything he knows.

"I want you to be able to come in with your friends or family and learn about and try a new wine you may never have considered before. It may not always be a great experience – maybe we discover you don’t care for a certain type of wine – but it will be an experience. And each time you return, we’ll remember your likes and dislikes, so we can steer you more toward new and better selections. I’m very interested in building lasting relationships with my customers," Barr says.

If it is a purely oenophile’s experience you are after, the wine-tasting bar, accessible through the restaurant or directly off of Carlsbad Village Drive, is perfect. Here you can sample various wines and buy the bottles you prefer from the collections available for purchase in the retail shop.

Barr and Pavagadhi’s attention to detail and high standards for excellence have created a genuinely special place to call home.

Paon Restaurant, Wine Bar & Retail Wine Shop Open for lunch and dinner daily 560 Carlsbad Village Drive +1 760 729 7377

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