Greetings CH'ers. I dined at Boca Steak Restaurant in Novato last night as part of a group of 9, and had a nice time. For you carnivores in the North Bay who haven't yet tried Boca, it's a worthy substitute to makeing the trek down to the City (or even Buckeye) for your meat fix.
The restaurant itself is decently appointed decor-wise, with a somewhat hunting lodge-ish feel to it based on the extensive use of wood. The bar area is a bit on the small side, with a party of 3 or more being hardpressed to find a place to sit.
While we were waiting for the rest of our group to show, we were informed that all bottles of wine (except one, which was the most expensive) are 50% off menu price on Tuesday evenings. Suffice it to say that we took advantage of this unexpected offer. Unfortunately, the 2000 Joseph Phelps Insignia listed on Boca's website at $140 was not on the wine list, as this would've been a below-wholesale steal at $70.
I'd asked that we be seated in a more private area of the restaurant, so we were led down a short flight of stairs to a smaller library/wine cellar type of room. It was our group of 9 at a long table, along with 2 tables of 4. The noise level from the main dining area was inaudible here.
We ordered the following apps:
Gambas Al Ajillo - butterflied prawns that had been roasted in their shells, with garlic and pancetta swimming in clarified butter. The prawns were decent, but the highlight was mopping up the butter/garlic/pancetta with bread.
George's Ahi Tuna Tartare - not quite as good a version as found at George Morrone's prior incarnations, but solid nonetheless.
Basket of 4 empanadas - small and not particularly memorable. I'd avoid these, esp. at the $15 price tag per basket of 4.
Hog Island oysters - menu doesn't describe these. The one oyster I had was marred by the fact that it hadn't been separated from the foot.
Overall, the apps weren't particularly great, but they were decent starters (except for the empanadas). As for my entree, I chose the dry-aged gaucho steak, medium rare. This was a bone-in ribeye that had dry-aged for 21 days. It had a noticeably more meaty flavor as compared to a grain-fed ribeye (which is a good thing IMO), though it was not quite as tender by comparison. 3 others in my group had the same, and all agreed it was a great piece of meat.
No one in the group had room for dessert, so I can't provide any feedback in that regards.
If you're up in the North Bay and looking for a good steakhouse, Boca is a worthy destination (esp. if you can take advantage of the 50% off wine night). For the oenophiles, the 9 of us polished off the following bottles:
2000 Lancaster Cab blend
2001 Stag's Leap Petite Syrah
2003 Pretty Sally Shiraz
2002 Trefethen Double TT Cab