Sunday, January 10, 2010

The French Garden

Eastside Road, January 10, 2010—
Dinner with a couple of friends in Sebastopol tonight, at The French Garden, a curious establishment just outside town. I was here for lunch two or three weeks ago, and wrote about it here; but that was lunch: tonight it was time to try Mark's dinner, with Lindsey. The chef, Mark Malicki, has an extroardinary hand with flavors and textures, combining them in surprising ways but always respecting the traditional repertoire. No foam, no kiwi, no verticality. From a number of appetizers and entrées I chose a simple garden salad, perfectly dressed with a fine vinaigrette based on a subtle olive oil; and a braised lamb shank in a deep red-wine reduction and flavored with pomegranate and citrus — but so delicately you'd hardly know they were there. It came on a bed of polenta, with carefully buttered sautéed chard. We shared a serving of gnocchi, too; I found them soft and compelling, with delicious spinach and wild mushrooms accompanying them. There were four desserts, and four of us at table: I had a cheese selection, blue, Manchego, and Camembert; to set them off, a generous chunk of comb honey — from the same local garden that proved the produce. This place has embraced a new professionalism in its kitchen; we'll be back.
Viogner, Hawley, 2007; Zinfandel, Seghesio, 2007
  • French Garden, 8050 Bodega Ave., Sebastopol, California; tel. 707-824-2030; website

    Beth said...

    Nice blog. It looks cool. Wish If you have shared the picture of french garden. Rest your blog looks perfect.

    Curtis Faville said...

    Sounds like a winner.

    We keep thinking there are fewer good restaurants all the time, but you seem to locate good new ones constantly. It must be a gift.

    Charles Shere said...

    I'm not sure the "gift" goes much beyond being grateful for what I get, Curtis...