Suppose you don't want a multi-course extravaganza like at Cyrus. Suppose you instead want the best starter, entree, and dessert in the Wine Country. Then you need to try the restaurant at The Farmhouse Inn. The quaint yellow farmhouse on River Road has a small dining room but huge ambition. We stayed at the inn and ate at the restaurant one night. I thought the meal was impeccable, complemented by great service and a particularly helpful and attentive sommelier. I always appreciate it when you give the sommelier a price range and they treat it as the ceiling not the floor. The kitchen is doing country French dishes with a California twist, using the freshest and best ingredients they can commandeer. The menu changes daily. It showed in the pretty plates and, even more so, in the mouth. We ate:
* Sauteed Artisan Foie Gras, confit of pineapple, toasted pistachio, black pepper gastrique, house made brioche
* Avocado Terrine & Oregon Bay Shrimp, roasted chilled aioli, broken tomato vinaigrette
* Roasted Filet of Wild Alaskan Halibut, Manila clams, chorizo, fresh garbanzo and wax beans
* Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit, applewood smoked bacon wrapped loin, roasted rack, confit of leg, whole grain mustard sauce, fingerling potatoes
* Chocolate souffle with creme anglais Bourbon sauce
* Creme brulee
The Rabbit Three Ways is their signature entree and for good reason. It may have been the best 3 preparations of rabbit I've ever eaten, and they were all on the same plate. All told, an outstanding meal.
P.S. If you are a breakfast person, then The Farmhouse Inn should be your destination of choice if you're visiting the Russian River Valley. The sit-down breakfast is complimentary and served at the civilized time of 9:00 am, which practically begs you to sleep in. It consists of two courses. The first course is a fresh-baked scone and a fruit plate, which may be as simple as mixed fruit with local honey and mint or as elaborate as strawberry soup. The second course alternates daily between sweet and salty. While we were there, we were served oatmeal pancakes with bacon and roasted apples, souffled eggs with country ham, french toast brioche with strawberries, and a farmhouse frittata. Everything was superb.