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Restaurants & Bars 6

The General's Daughter - Sonoma's tastiest dish with true Southern charm

rworange | Oct 15, 200504:13 AM

Last spring Jim and Bettie Hall bought The General’s Daughter hiring Chef Preston Dishman. Dishman’s food reminds me very much of the young Bradley Ogden when he was still in the kitchen at Lark Creek.

Owners and chef are from the Southeast and bring with them gracious Southern hospitality and a delicious Southern influence on stellar California ingredients.

At last some original menu ideas like the Stone ground grit cake & Bodega Bay rock shrimp with Tabasco butter or Creole spiced Wild Alaskan Halibut, hoppin’ john, andouille, crayfish.

There is more background information in the link to a review by the Press Democrat below. The description of the Flatiron steak and fries in the review highlights it as one of the best versions of steak frites in the Bay Area.

Everything about Generals Daughter reminds me of the old Bizou which was my favorite restaurant during its decade long run. The rooms are elegant and romantic, the staff professional and well trained, the bar is cozy and the food creative and outstanding.

There isn’t a website, so the dinner menu is at the end.

The grilled Frog Hollow Peach Salad with arugula, blue cheese and warm bacon vinaigrette was an inspired combination.

The lightly grilled peaches, slightly smoky, were heated just enough to bring an extra juiciness to the slices. There was a whisper of the warm bacon vinaigrette with pieces of bacon. It so perfectly and lightly dressed the salad that the greens did not wilt. A bite of peach, bacon dressed greens & blue cheese … good, good goooood.

I read the Press Democrat review while waiting for the restaurant to open and was undecided between the steak and salmon. My server guided me to the perfectly cooked California Wild King Salmon from local fisherman Ray Lanus. It was served on a light but intensely, gloriously flavored wild mushroom sauce with chippolini onions, fresh peas and lots of wonderful sliced wild mushrooms. Excellent.

The dessert was the best fig dish I’ve had all season.

Laloo fig ice cream was paired with warm roasted and caramelized fresh figs and topped with mascarpone and some lovely type of sweet cracker that had the texture and crunch of corn flakes.

This was my first taste of Laloo which is a goat milk ice cream and I liked it very much. Some people have said they could taste the goat milk, but given the combination of this dish only the true fig flavor and creaminess stood out.

There were light airy potato rolls from Sonoma’s Basque Bakery. My server said they buy the dough and then bake the rolls in-house.

I requested the wine flight to be paired with dinner and the selections were excellent. I’m not a wine person, so I didn’t take notes, but a sweet white was perfectly matched with the peach salad. What I really loved was the selection of a dry flinty white that was the perfect transitional wine to the pinot that was paired with the salmon. For dessert, who could have thought that dessert could be improved, but the port made a heavenly dessert, divine.

The restaurant is the loveliest that I’ve visited in Sonoma. The outdoor dining option was tempting … a patio under an old grapevine, tables on the porch surrounding the Victorian house and a larger patio. As evening descended, hurricane candles were put on each table and they glowed romantically. Heat lamps are available for chilly nights.

According to the review below the restaurant décor hasn’t changed. There is a cozy bar with two four seat tables and seven seats at the bar. The dining area is separated into rooms with well spaced tables and is elegant yet homey and comfortable. There are stylish paintings of farm animals on the walls, one of cows being herded by a dog, others with chickens, geese and a shy pig poking its head out of a gate.

Large sunny windows look out on the green trees and garden surrounding the restaurant.

One of the owners, Betty Hall, introduced herself to everyone in the bar that was waiting for dinner. She warmly shook everyone’s hand and chatted a bit. I can only think of Chapeau in San Francisco that has an owner with so much charm. Nothing was overdone. The servers were professional yet warm, helpful and welcoming.

They are serving Thanksgiving Dinner and that’s where I plan to spend mine … in this charming restaurant with porches decorated with a few pumpkins and cornstalks … enjoying what I suspect will be a fabulous holiday feast.

Here’s tonight’s menu, excluding specials


Season oysters on the Half shell (they were good ones tonight but the name escapes me)

Sonoma Country Artisan Fois Gras (daily preparation – again, didn’t take notes. However the description was so delicious and unique that even though I don’t eat fois gras, I wanted it … badly).

Chef’s Nightly selection of Soup

Hand Cut Spicy Pacific Tuna Tartare, green apple salad, sriracha aioli

Stone ground grit cake & Bodega Bay rock shrimp with Tabasco butter.

Homemade mushroom ravioli, sweet garlic, sun dried tomatoes, Vella romanello

Selection of Artisan cheeses and Accompaniments


Baby Romaine Salad, smoked bacon, roasted garlic, blue cheese vinaigrette

Chilled Roasted beets, living watercress, goat cheese dressing

Grilled Frog Hollow Peach Salad, arugula blue cheese, warm bacon vinaigrette

Tangle of Market Lettuces, oak hill carrots, organic cucumbers, pickled onions

Salad of Local Heirloom Tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, balsamic


California Wild King Salmon from Ray Lanus, fresh peas, cippolini onions, wild mushrooms

Creole spiced Wild Alaskan Halibut, hoppin’ john, andouille, crayfish

Wild Shrimp and Jumbo Lump Crab, leeks, roasted peppers, sherry cream

Pan seared Mountain Trout, summer succotash, lobster beurre blanc

Bronzed Lions Paw Scallops, potato puree, creamy garlic spinach, bourbon bacon butter


Chargrilled Painted Hills Flat Iron, pommes frites, béarnaise aioli

Orange Chipotle Glazed Sonoma Duck Breast, local corn, bacon, shitakes

Grilled Natural Pork Porterhouse, wilted backyard greens, ham hock vinaigrette

Spice Grilled Colorado Lamb Loin Chops, ratatouille, olive basil butter

Skillet Seared Natural Chicken, cheddar polenta, natural jus

Pan Roasted Veal Medallions, prosciutto, porcini risotto, lemon sage butter

Pan Seared Prime Loin Fillet of beef, fingerling cheese fries, red wine jus


Frozen bourbon chocolate parfait with hot fudge sauce
Local Honey and Champagne Sabayon with fresh berries
Scharffen Berger dark chocolate hot pot
Panna Cotta
Crème Brule
Fiorello gelato (one of the flavors today was green apple)

The General's Daughter
400 W. Spain St. (Fifth St.)
Sonoma, CA 95476


Open Nightly

Bar open for cocktails from 5 pm
Diner Service from 5:30 pm

Link: http://go.northbay.pressdemocrat.com/...

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