Cindy’s has a nice relaxed wine country restaurant atmosphere. It’s airy and bright inside and has a small pleasant patio. It also has a nice bar to go to for a drink or a glass of wine. In the Spring and Summer there are many flowers along the path leading you into the restaurant. I remember lots and lots of sweetpeas one year. As Railroad Ave runs parallel with Hwy 128 and the restaurant is in downtown St. Helena parking is sometimes difficult, so allow time to find a spot.
We enjoyed our lunch. As we brought our 3-year-old with us, we chose the patio and it worked out fine. He loved dining al fresco and he got to see the inside of the woodoven which was right beside our table.
Cindy Pawlcyn’s cooking style is warm and comforting. The dishes at Cindy’s Backstreet are fun choices showing her interest in global tastes. On our first visit, shortly after it opened, Jack discovered Baja wines and I still wax poetic over the tacos I consumed that day. I also remembered the cocktail I had then – and the Caipirinha I enjoyed was at par with that memory.
Sweet Corn with Mushroom $7.50
Awesome. Even Trent loved it. We almost re-ordered it!
Wood Oven Duck with Crispy Potato Croquettes & Citrus Sauce $20.75
Leg a bit tough. Good flavor. Would order again.
Calamari, Sweet Onion, Pasilla Pepper & Summer Beans with Basil Aioli 9.75
Not too greasy. Good flavor. Basil aioli good. The breading was chewy and generally fell off. It was cornmeal based. It was fine but I wouldn’t order it again.
Chinatown Duck Burger with housemade shiitake ketchup $11.50
Boring bun and tasteless fries. Duck burger itself a bit charred on top but moist inside. Shitake Mushroom Ketchup totally lost in the boring bun. The burger was made of ground duck. I’m not sure I would have known it was duck. It was fine but I wouldn’t order it again.
Watermelon Fresh Fruit Sparkler $3
Really fresh and good. Subtle. Made with Yellow Doll Watermelon. Recommended.
Caipirinha made with Ypioca Cachaca and whole chopped limes & sugarcane syrup $7
This was great. The bartender is on it.
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.