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Water Street Bistro (Petaluma)

Melanie Wong | May 29, 200404:33 PM

On Friday I made an early escape from the City to start the weekend with a lunch stop in Petaluma. My intended destination was the new Bricks on Kentucky, however, I discovered it’s not open for lunch. No matter, next on my list of places to try was Central Market. I walked around the corner and found that it no longer serves lunch on week days either. Fortunately, in Petaluma you’re never more than a stone’s throw from some excellent food, and just a few steps further toward the riverfront put me on Water Street Bistro’s patio. This was my first meal at this tiny café.

The daily specials of pork stew or seared ahi and the day’s selection of composed salads all sounded wonderful. But I was in the mood for something more basic and picked the half sandwich/cup of soup lunch for $6.75, choosing from several options. I took a seat outside on the patio and amused myself admiring the bountiful plates of food that passed by. Servings are generous with overflowing sandwiches and piled high salads.

My cup of clam chowder was actually a small soup bowl, a very beautiful bowl in fact, of Raku-like glazed pottery that lent a grounded, organic aura to my first food of the day. Flecked with yellow dots of butterfat, the slightly thickened white chowder tasted of rich cream, onion, celery, potatoes, and sweet chopped clams. It was accompanied by three slices of gorgeous pumpkin seed bread by Della Fattoria, my favorite bread baker, which I wrapped up to take home with me.

The half sandwich, turkey and ham muffaletta, was the size of a whole from less generous kitchens. A 4” length of grilled French roll was stuffed with boiled ham, turkey, cheese and olive spread, then pressed and heated until the cheese was oozily melted. Accompanied by a generous side of lightly dressed bitter greens, this simple soup and san’ lunch turned out to be a more complete meal than I’d ever expected for the price.

Still, having eyed the pastry case earlier, I had saved room for dessert. The ramekin of blueberry clafouti won out over the many other choices. Served hot, it was very satisfying and homey. As Jennie said, the food here is made with loving care.

Including a bottle of Le Village lemonade, my tab for soup, salad, sandwich, and dessert was $12, plus a contribution to the tip jar. Open for breakfast and lunch only – while my stomach left happy, I couldn’t help but be a little sad that I can’t eat here more often.

Water Street Bistro
100 Petaluma Blvd N # 106

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