For anyone craving Asian food, Windsor is a convenient destination, rich with choices. Located just off Highway 101 between Healdsburg and Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, the town boasts a variety of restaurants showcasing Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and the Indian flavors of south Asia.
Senju (8960 Brooks Road S., Windsor, 707-836-1699) is one of the area's best-kept secrets. It’s in a set-back area of a small, quiet strip mall, but once you find its front door, it’s an authentic immersion into a Japanese “resutoran,” complete with blonde wood walls divided into cozy compartments by wooden half-walls, wood tables and chairs, and a wood sushi bar topped with a wood pagoda-style roof.
Sushi is front-and-center on the lengthy menu (more than 25 shusi and more than 50 rolls listed, plus endless special chef creations), but it’s hard to resist the bento box dinners, with 13 choices all anchored by tempura, a savory bowl of tofu-studded miso soup, green salad, rice, and entrees like teriyaki meats, sashimi or ginger chicken.
Tonkatsu is a particular crowd favorite, bringing thick-sliced pork cutlet that’s wonderfully juicy beneath its thin, crisp-breaded shell. Spear a hunk, dip it in tangy katsu sauce, and bliss.
Enjoy beloved classic dishes like tikka masala, vindaloo, chyan, and saag at the Himalayan Restaurant (810 McClelland Drive, Windsor, 707-838-6746). Chef-owner Rabin Dhoj Lama presents an expansive menu ranging across Nepal and South Asia, with a few California twists like a Sonoma salad of mozzarella, avocado, and tomato, or ginger-marinated salmon kabobs.
For two particularly toothsome dishes, lamb makhani brings the tender meat bathed in thick, buttery gravy, while chicken chyau is cooked in mushrooms and rich tomato sauce.
For a taste of all cuisines in one setting, Chinois Asian Bistro (186 Windsor River Road, Windsor, 707-838-4667), just a block away from the Town Green, delivers a delicious romp through Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Indian, Filipino, Hong Kong-style, and Malaysian specialties.
It’s all a step above the ordinary. Spring rolls come plump with crispy roast duck and cool cucumber, while ahi tartare presents ruby red cubes of fish jewel-brilliant, glistening in sesame ponzu and scattered in paper-thin taro chips. The mood even feels modern, with red column lanterns and a long row of charcoal banquettes, growing even prettier when the Thai green mango salad arrives in a portrait of julienne vegetable curls, cilantro, scallions, sprouts, peanuts, and prawns.
Be sure to try the dim sum, too, like Day Break Radish Cake, four fluffy slabs of crisp-edged French toast-like bread that’s peppery-sharp with radish and tamed with a thick, sweet soy syrup.
“Delicious” in Japanese is “oishī.” For this part of Sonoma County, though, just say “Windsor.”
Other Asian options in Windsor include: