7871 River Road, Forestville, CA 95436 (NW of Santa Rosa, SW of Healdsburg)
Toll free: 800-464-6642
Our Visit: Dinner - Saturday May 27, 2006
The atmosphere at the Farmhouse Inn is really pleasant. It has just 14 tables, so it is small and intimate and with little pomp and circumstance. The main dining room is lovely, but the chairs annoy us; they are hard and have low seats and really need a cushion.
The service was quite smooth with very attentive wine service. The sommelier/wine director, Geoff Kruth, has included not only great local wines on the list but also an interesting selection of wines from around the world. He is very knowledgeable about the wines he's chosen and is happy to help with pairing - and excellent at doing so.
Their “cheese cart” is wonderful and worth a look. The Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit dish that they are famous for, did not disappoint and was as wonderful as I remembered it.
The Chef, Steve Litke, seems very aware of seasonal high quality ingredients and is masterful at both highlighting and integrating them into dishes. Food presentation is lovely. The restaurant states that they support sustainable farming on the menu and their attention to detail shows throughout the meal.
The table bread from Della Fattoria, re-crisped in their oven. The Lurisia Sparkling Water they buy direct from New York importer. The cheeses they arrange to have imported directly or get from the source, such as from Andante in Santa Rosa.
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner and would not hesitate to return soon – or recommend the restaurant.
Terrine of Apricots and Sonoma Foie Gras, pickled Bing cherries, toasted brioche, sherry gastrique $17
Bing Cherries almost glazed. Sweet but light flavor. The Foie was pressed and flawless. The accompaniments sherry gastrique, apricot and cherries were great choices. My only suggestion would be that it needed another slice of brioche. Highly Recommended.
Duo of Yellowfin Tuna: fresh chili-tuna tartare, grilled rare paillard, fava, wild asparagus, golden beets, carrot-crayfish vinaigrette $15
The tuna was mesquite grilled but the flavor integrated into the dish. The fava beans were wonderful. Garnished with a cilantro blossom which added a lemony flavor. Wild asparagus interesting but not the star of the dish.
Roasted Alaskan Halibut
with potato fennel puree, olive orange butter, oven-dried Juliet tomatoes, garden thyme-Vermouth sauce $28
Willing to order again but I would try something else. Recommended. Jack even ate the olives!
Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit
Applewood smoked bacon wrapped loin, roasted rack, confit of leg, whole grain mustard sauce, fingerling potato $29
A dish they are famous for. A tiny frenched rack. The confited leg meat falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. Bacon and rabbit are a heavenly match and the loin is perfectly cooked. The sauce has cream and mustard and is a great accompaniment - another lick-the-plate dish. Highly Recommended.
Tuscan Olive Oil Cake
with Local strawberries, and rhubarb, pineapple sauternes sabayon
with lemon mint syrup $9
So this is what this cake is supposed to taste like! (I’ve had a number of far less successful imitations.) The cake with accompaniments was heavenly, fresh and light. Perhaps a little too much sabayon than needed – but then I didn’t have to eat it! Recommended.
Cheese Degustation Minuet – Andante Dairy, Goat & Cow’s Milk
Delicious and fresh triple crème with buttery flavors. Rondo– Andante Dairy, Goat & Cow’s Milk
Topped with pink peppercorns and herbes de provence. Pink pepper adds a great dimension. Pyrenees – France, Sheep’s Milk
Semi-soft pate. Nutty and buttery. Centovalli – Switzerland, Cow’s Milk
A Rolf Beeler selection. Firm, dense with a dry finish. But not crumbly. Strong flavor – not good with red wine – turns it bitter. Abbaye de Citeaux – France, Cow’s Milk
Jack’s favorite. The cheese was great as usual. Blue de Sassenage – France, Cow’s Milk
Paired with the Madeira – it turns it into a different cheese – wonderful. The blue slightly bites on the finish. It’s very salty.
Wine: 2004 Paolo Bea Santa Chiara $59
Nose of vanilla-poached apricot and peach stone fruit. Roundness and yellow fruit unfolds on the tongue to mineral notes of unripe pineapple and finished slightly tartly. Very very clean and long finish. Gets better and better with opening time. (Jack found the acids dominating – definitely not an apertif wine.)
2002 Milz Riesling Mosel Trittenheimer Apotheke $12/gl
Nose of creamy soda and a hint of green peppercorns. Soft creamy center with a soft tart apple finish. Light finish. Wine does not have lots of character but good with food. Fantastic with the rabbit. Just ok with Foie. Drink now.
2004 Fillatreau Samur-Champigny
This cabernet franc has a deep, raisiny nose. Extracted color but wine has a fresh center and clean finish. Clipped a bit on the finish. Drink now. Berries and tobacco on nose.
1998 Harvest Terrantez’s Oliveriras Madiera
Deep golden raisin and brown sugar nose and finish. Slightly lemony. Very, very long finish.
We also ordered a dessert to go:
Meyer Lemon Meringue tart with Huckleberry Sauce $9
The curd was perfect the meringue like grandma’s. Great crust.
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.