My mom and I were pondering our Santa Rosa lunch options on a rainy Wednesday, and I asked about Michele's. Is it open for lunch? If so, would John be there during lunch service? And how is Charlie Brown holding up after his adventure?
The answers were yes, yes, and just fine, thank you.
The parking lot was packed at noon when we arrived, thanks to a lunch meeting in the banquet room. The dining room decor has not been updated since Frank Sinatra was climbing the pop charts and only 2 tables were occupied, with martini-drinking Little Old Ladies.
My mom ordered the chicken fettucine (around $11.00) , my chowpup had cheese ravioli with alfredo sauce (kids menu $5.50), and I had the canneloni ($12.00). Lunch comes with a choice of soup or salad; my minestrone was clearly housemade with tender chard, and a smattering of kidney beans and pasta shells in a beef and tomato base. My mom's salad was exactly what I expected-iceburg lettuce with a blob of thick (and delicious) blue cheese dressing, a slice of salami, a pepperoncini and a few garbanzo beans.
The entrees were superb. The ravioli's alfredo sauce had a hint of sherry that was positively addictive and my mom's fettucine was packed with chicken. The canneloni were filled with finely ground beef that remained tender, and in a nice break from cream, covered in a red pepper sauce and parmesan, nicely crisped under the broiler.
The menu is far from adventurous, but really hits the spot if you are in the mood for nostalgic comfort food. Chef John Franchetti is an old family friend, with an amazing culinary pedigree, so it seems just a matter of time before he has his own place.
Michele's Italian & American
521 Adams St.
Santa Rosa, CA
(707) 542-2577 (Be Forewarned! When it's a busy night, the phone will ring endlessly before being answered).