Enjoy Delicious French Cuisine at Crocodile Restaurant
One unique eaterie taking Petaluma by surprise is known as the Crocodile Restaurant, a delicious French dining experience on Second Street. The French food at this cozy Petaluma bistro speaks of Sonoma County with its charcuterie, from the house made rabbit pate, duck pate and chicken liver mousse, to the saucisson sec sausage with wholegrain mustard, pickled local veggies, Revolution bread and crackers.
The classics are celebrated, like a lovely boeuf Bourguignon made with red wine-braised filet mignon, pearl onions and house made egg noodles, or steak frites featuring flavorful hangar steak dolloped in maitre d’hotel butter alongside fries are with celery root remoulade and ketchup doctored with piment d'Espelette Basque chile.
It’s a bit of a change for Scottish-born chef Michael Dotson and his wife and business partner, Moira Beveridge, who previously owned a Scottish gastropub in the South Bay. Except the Sonoma County residents lived in France for a while, too, and Dotson trained there at the start of his culinary career.
Chef Dotson also likes to pull out tricks here and there, such as African, Spanish and Italian accents, in a nod to the southern French port of Marseille. Then, he tosses in whimsical touches, like gougères stuffed with American pimento cheese.
Some of the more unusual bites include pumpkin croquettes dressed with chermoula Moroccan herb dip, or the delicious vegetable barigoule, usually a Provençal dish of braised artichokes in a white-wine broth, and here, fashioned with red kuri squash, rutabaga, roasted celery root and mustard greens in chile-vanilla broth.
Even carrots get some global love, decorated with pomegranate and muhammara Turkish pepper-walnut dip, while crispy Brussels sprouts nest atop leek kimchee puree.
In a salute to Parisian comfort food, mushroom roasted chicken breast stands out, the skin crispy and the bird paired with gnocchi and Brussels sprouts all drizzled in red wine jus.
For dessert, it’s a return to the classics, like plum clafoutis – sort of a fancy flan – dressed in lemon verbena crème Chantilly.