Six of us went to the community dinner at Applewood Inn, in Guerneville, on Sunday. This is a truly incredible bargain at $30 per person, and they waive corkage for any wines from the Russian River. You can also order off the regular menu on Sundays, but all of us went for the community dinner. Applewood Inn is a lovely place and the service is top notch. Here's what we had:
Roasted beet salad with frisee and goat cheese: This is kind of a cliche, but I still really like it. The beets were very deep, earthy, and rich and contrasted well with the frisee, which was perfectly dressed with a citrus vineagrette. The citrus was prominent without being overpowering and paired well with the goat cheese. I enjoyed it very much.
Canaloni with ricottta, spinach, and wild mushrooms: I have read that the chef is an expert mushroom forager so I was looking forward to this. It didn't dissappoint. Each flavor was distinct yet they blended into a harmonious whole. The mushrooms had the strong earthy flavor that I look for, and often don't find, in cultivated "wild" mushrooms. I love spinach and often find that it is overpowered by other ingredients, but not here. Again, these were elements that I would expect to find together, but this was done perfectly.
Honey tuile with strawberries and mascarpone cream: Delicious, but it didn't blow me away like some of the desserts I have had from the regular menu (I still remember that blood orange creme brulee).
Although everything was delicious, and the price was amazing, the one impression I left with was that the three courses seemed quite a lot alike somehow. Each one was a cheese accompanied by fruit or vegetable, and, in the case of the main and dessert, a thin starchy roll of something. This is a very minor quibble and I would definitely go back for more of the Sunday dinners. I've always loved Applewood, but at the regular price point it's a special treat for me. At this price, I could see becoming a sunday regular.
Applewood Inn & Restaurant
13555 HWY 116, Guerneville, CA 95446
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