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sebastopol restaurants


Trishiad
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I've lived in Sebastopol for many years now but have just recently wandered into K&L Bistro. This is a small, quiet joint and I have a small, not so quiet child so I've been avoiding it despite it's shiny new Michelin star. The boy was in great form recently and my Mom was in town so we went in for lunch. Mom and I had a dry and unevenly cooked burger, husband had a lovely crab salad, boy had a really really yummy macaroni and cheese and we all shared a hot fudge sundae. The chocolatier in me was So sad to find that the hot fudge was grainy and crystalized. I always hear great things about K&L and was surprised that half of what we ordered was less than great.

Anyone been to the new West County Grill? This is such a small town, I'm curious to see if they'll be able to support the salaries of all the mucho important men who opened the place.

French Garden?

Starlight Wine Bar?

How's Alice's these days?

With a small child, I must live vicariously through those of you who have lives.

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my husband i are going to be in sebastapol for a wedding at the beginning of june. we have one night-thursday-free and would love to have the name of a good place to enjoy a dinner after a long day flying from boston.

thanks for the help

.

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Well, I guess no one is eating in Sebastopol? I had the pleasure of brunch at the Starlight wine bar ( www.starlightwinebar.com ) last weekend and was delighted. Okay, normally I work there 2 nights a week so it's not really fair if I review dinner but I never work brunch and do enjoy eating it.

This restaurant is in an old pullman car. It is swanky (for lack of a better term). It's perfectly lit, cozy, and oh so cool. We enjoyed locally made Sunshine Roasters coffee and the Touraine Sparkling Rose.

We ordered a feast:

German apple Pancake with cider syrup: Huge puffy pancake with local apples with lightly whipped cream and housemade syrup. So good! Not too sweet for breakfast.

Biscuits and Gravy: Rich, Flakey biscuits made with duck fat covered in an andouille sausage gravy. This was creamy without being heavy and spicy without inducing heartburn. I am craving more and must go back next weekend.

Eggs, bacon, fruit.

Eggs Benedict:

Potato cakes, crisp on the outside with big bites of red potato and chesse inside. Perfectly poached eggs, applewood bacon and a slightly spiced fresh hollandaise sauce. This is their best seller for a reason!

Dinner is great too but should be reviewed by someone other than me. Anyone wanna pop in? Do say "Hello" if you decide to join us.

Edited by Trishiad (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll chime in on Starlight. I think the look of the place is great. Was introduced to it by a friend of mine and had the chance to eat some food and meet the one of the chefs. It amazes me they produce such good food out of such a tiny kitchen!

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I'll be heading out with some girlfriends next Saturday night. We thought we'd try out the new West County Grill. It's the new restaurant opened by 4 bigwigs from San Francisco and New York. I heard someone refer to it as "Sebastopol Trendy" last night. Talk around town is that they're still working out some kinks. This place got more press before it even opened than any of the other restaurants in town have managed to get even after being open for years.

There's so much buzz about the Napa Valley in this forum. I thinks it's time we paid a little attention to the Sonoma Valley. We're turning out some amazing Pinots and Syrahs and some pretty wonderful food to go with.

I'll take some photos and report back.

Devinf: You met the ONLY chef at Starlight. His name is Thaddeus Palmese. He is from New Orleans and brings a bit of that background to his menu here. Starlight was opened by Ted and Heather Van Doorn, a couple from LA who met working on the set of the Titanic. Chef Thaddeus is cousin to Ted. Total staff including the owners is only 8, believe it or not.

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I headed out to the much talked about West County Grill tonight with some of my mommy friends. This resto has gotten tons of press and created quite a buzz around town. It is on the square where Lucy's used to be. Rumor has it (the owner of Lucy's is an old collegue of mine) that Jonathan (ex-husband of Alice Waters) made an offer which couldn't be refused so Lucy's sold, closed, and was remodeled. It has been open a short time, maybe 2 months and is packed solid every weekend.

Four of us dined, one pregnant and one not terribly hungry. I came in the side door and never noticed the hostess station. I exchanged many courtesy smiles with the abundant staff as I wandered into the dining room looking for my friends. One of my friends' was already seated, I joined her and my water glass was soon filled. Our other two friends joined us, one at a time, neither of them seated by a host.

Our waiter offered us the opportunity for questions, we had a few, "what is a zinfandoodle?".

We ordered a bottle and 2 glasses. Pregers asked for something passionfruity and virgin from the bar, number 4 asked for the cocktail menu.

Menus here are just one page printed and presented as is, just off the printer. The wine list is sheets of paper on a clipboard. Honestly, I was surprised by the huge number of wines from elsewhere in a place called the West County Grill. To me the name is presumptuous, claiming that they represent the whole of Western Sonoma County. I found it difficult to find and choose a wine from Western Sonoma County but did indeed settle on the Zinfandoodle. It was quite inexpensive and very drinkable. The waiter described it as full bodied and ripe. To me, for Sebastopol, it was very earthy and not as fruit forward as is typical of this area. Again, we enjoyed it.

I had intended to take photos but forgot my camera. Thought I'd smuggle out a menu but our little stash was sought out as the dining room filled. I'll do my best to recount:

2 Oysters from Washington. Kamamoto? They were tiny. I mean tiny. $3.50 each. The girls who ate them hardly noticed.

Avocado and Grapefruit salad with Mache. This was a light pleasant salad. The grapefruit was just right. It was very simple and good.

Gnocco and Proscuitto. This was a bed of thinly sliced proscuitto topped with 5 (I think) 1 by 1.5 inch rectangular pieces of fried dough. The dough reminded me of wonton which hadn't been rolled out enough. Maybe the plate wasn't passed to me soon enough but mine was chewy and not so yummy. $12

Next came a pizza stand and an oval pizza cooked in the old brick oven. I think they called this Pizza Bianco (I can't remember the price). It was a nicely crisp crust with Fontina, Proscuittto and Arugula. I noticed some Parmesan on the crust which was nice too. This might have been my favorite of the evening. The arugula was cooked on the pizza, not tossed on after cooking. The proscuitto added just the right amount of fat and salt and the crust was great. While I wouldn't want this as an entree, it was a great starter to share.

Still hungry, we ordered their house chicken...It has someone's intials in the name but frankly I was having a hard time focussing on the reading of the menu. This place was really busy, with a staff of at least four hundred and fifty. Our table was very near the entrance to the open kitchen so I was watching all of the food leaving and all of the servers coming and going and I was starting to feel a bit frantic despite the wine.

So, chicken, Baked? Half, on bone, nicely seasoned, skin still a bit fatty, fries, pretty good, not as well seasoned. The chicken was a bit thin and was hard to slice off the bone. It was a definite challenge to share. A single diner might have been inclined to use fingers or bring a piece directly to his mouth. It was good but nothing unusual or extraordinary about it. $19?

Dessert, it's what I live for.

Cardamom Creme Caramel: Served on a big oval plate, swimming in sauce was a round of creme caramel which, while the usual circumfrance, was terribly thin. It was less than 1/2 an inch thick. Yummy and drenched in cardamom syrup with fresh mango diced and banana sliced with 2 little pistachio shortbread cookies. The cookies had such substance compared to the creme. They were downright meaty. Made with salted butter, I'd guess. $7

Chocolate Coconut cake with Rum Anglaise: This was more of a napolean than a cake. Thin layers of semi-sweet chocolate with thin layers of crisp meringue with thick layers of coconut in some kind of binder ( honey? simple syrup?). Tasty, moist, not cake. $7

2 ordered decaf which was brought in a French press, cute. Apparently quite good, even pregers enjoyed some.

Our server was great but seemed rushed even though they had a cast of thousands. I would be interested to know how many tables per server. While it was a fine meal, dollar for dollar, I'd rather be somewhere less hectic and more laid back in true "West County" style.

Soon: K&L Bistro to see Karen and Lucas and Starlight Wine Bar to see Ted and Heather. Any other requests?

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