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Dinner at Boonville Hotel in Anderson Valley

nja | Mar 8, 200412:12 PM

I had an excellent meal at the Boonville Hotel in the Anderson Valley.

The rough and tumble Western exterior of the hotel hides within a modern and urban looking restaurant. One enters into a small bar and host area, then several small rooms break off at either side. One room has a roaring fireplace, another a row of windows overlooking the hotels garden. There appear to even be outdoor tables though they were not in use during our visit.

The menu here is very small--our B&B owner described it as "short but sweet"--only about 6 appetizers, 5 entrees, and 3 desserts. We started with the curried smoke trout "pate" and roasted vegetable soup. Both were delicious. The pate was a ramekin full of flaky, smoky, yellow fish -- the spicing was a wonderful marriage of flavors that resulted in a delicious whole without any one flavor standing out above the others. In fact, I can't be sure of what was in it other than smoked fish and tumeric! Crispy, olive oiled toasts were a great match. The same balance of flavors occured with the soup: a thick, dark red broth with a swirl of meyer lemon infused sour cream. Though warm, our waiter said this dish was gazpacho inspired, as it had a base of blended tomatoes thickend with bread, but also included a mixture of various roasted winter vegetables.

For our main courses we had a pizza with gorgonzola dolce and carmelized onions (actually from the appetizer list). Thin, cracker-like crust was topped with mildly sweet sauce, onions, and cheese. Several large chunks of cheese provided a nice blue-cheese-bitterness contrast. The only unsuccesful dish was the parchment steamed sole topped with lemon and capers served with broccoli rabe and potato gratin. The rabe was fine, but the other two parts of the dish didn't come together well. The cream and cheese sauce mostly separated from the potatoes and the fish, while fresh, tasted primarly of pickle from the capers. I knew I should have ordered the ribeye and frites!

For dessert we had a meyer lemon rouland with raspberry sauce. It was a nice, simple, refreshing end to the meal.

The wine list, with probably about 30 bottles, focuses on Mendocino County wines with a few international selections. We shared a Jurtschitsch Gruner Veltliner, which was a mediocre example of the variety.



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