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Sonoma County Restaurant Week started yesterday and continues through Sunday March 12. I slid into Valette http://www.valettehealdsburg.com/ and managed to get a seat at the bar at 5:30pm. The tables were fully booked. It's offering a 3-course dinner menu for $39, as shown below, that differs from what's posted to the Sonoma County site.
Hawaiian Ahi Poke Style
Strong Arm Farm Kombu
Wakame Salad – Soy Kombu Emulsion – Crispy Avocado
Slow Cooked Celeriac Soup
Bernier Farms Beets
Smoked Sturgeon – Toasted Rye – Caviar Chantilly
Tangerine Infused Beets en Papillote
Early Bird Farms Baby Turnips
Preserved Lemon + Farro Risotto – Baby Carrots - Laura Chenel Goat Cheese
Apple Brined Pork Porterhouse
Gary Blasi Heritage Apples
Spicy Chicharróns – Crispy Brussles Sprouts – Pinot Noir Mustard
Warm Frangipane Tart
Vanilla Infused Sweet Mascarpone
Kaffir Lime ‘Snow’– Blood Orange Sorbet
ItsNotA ‘Snickers Bar’
Cocoa Nib Tuile – Peanut Powder
Locally Produced Volo Dark Chocolate
Celeriac soup was a velvety wonder, served in a heated bowl so it stayed hot. The smoked sturgeon and caviar cream added salty highlights. The dice of red and yellow beets left colorful contrails against the neutral tone of the celeriac puree.
Pork porterhouse was trimmed a bit too aggressively for me, as I like to see a rim of tasty, charred fat. And it was a little dry around the edges, but better in the center. It's been a long while since I've seen a brined chop that's not pink inside. Since it was a bigger hunk of meat than I could finish, I did not mind eating around the drier parts. Still, this was a tasty prep with crispy sprout leaves lined up with airy and crunchy chicharrones dusted with spicy chile, a dab of Pinot Noir mustard, roasted garlic, halved brussels sprouts and picked red onions with an apple-spiked jus.
Frangipane tart soaked up the bleeding of the intense blood orange sorbet and kaffir lime snow to not waste a delicious drop.
To drink, I had a glass of Pinot Noir rose'. The crusty dinner roll served hot with room temperature whipped butter topped with black salt deserves a shout out too.
On the ala carte menu, ordering these dishes would have been $53. Valette delivered very good value for the promotion. This was my first time at the restaurant, motivated to try it finally by this menu. Service was very good even at the bar. The atmosphere has a more casual feel than I expected and the regular price point was not as high as I had thought. So I expect to return to Valette not just for a special occasion. While some patrons seated at the bar with me were having the special menu, other regulars had dropped in for a cocktail and an appetizer. The scallops en croute, encased in a puffy dome, looked and smelled great savored on both sides of me. I'll want to try that and some of the housemade charcuterie. And that's the value of restaurant week promotions, taking a test run at an unfamiliar place and discovering a new hangout.
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