New Belly–full in Santa Rosa
There are rock star chefs, and then there are chefs for rock stars. For the new Belly Left Coast Kitchen & Tap Room just opened in Santa Rosa, the situation seems to be both, since the restaurant on 4th Street near Mendocino Avenue comes from executive chef/partner Gray Rollin, who previously was a tour chef for such performers as Motley Crue, KISS, Black Eyed Peas, Sarah McLachlan, Katy Perry, Blink 182, Godsmack, and Tori Amos.
Most recently, Rollin traveled exclusively with Linkin Park to Asia, Europe, South America, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and more than three dozen other tour locations.
He probably won’t cook dishes like the one he prepared for Linkin Park’s recent show in Australia, of kangaroo korma curry. But there’s plenty more to like on the New American menu, which for the Belly theme, does include crispy braised pork belly over goat cheese polenta and wilted greens ($14).
Rollin worked several years as sous chef at I’O Restaurant in Lahaina, Maui, after which he opened the Pacific-fusion Nage in Washington D.C.
But these eats are mostly local inspirations, such as seared ahi with avocado purée and pineapple salsa ($11), Two Hog mac ’n’ cheese studded with chorizo and pancetta ($7), 2x roasted baby back ribs in house-made sweet-savory glaze with kale ($16), and BBQ pulled pork pizza ($13).
Vegetarians should be pretty happy, too, with choices like Asian kale and quinoa salad ($10), wild mushroom truffle pizza ($10), and gingersnap crusted apple-blueberry crumble with granola topping ($7).
To go alongside, 26 beers on tap tempt, as well as wine choices from Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii.
Teaming up with Rollin are partners Mike Ward, a Sonoma County entrepreneur, and Pablo and Courtney Scurto, best known for their Tres Hombres Mexican restaurant in Petaluma.
So yes, for the late night service of a limited menu running until 1:30 a.m. on weekends, there are bites like chili verde tacos with tomato Serrano slaw.
Details: Belly Left Coast Kitchen and Tap Room, 523 4th Street, Santa Rosa, 707-526-5787.