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New: Persimmon On the Square

The new Persimmon in Healdsburg has something “Pho You.” And as a cleverly named take on the traditional Vietnamese dish, it’s indeed pho, the savory soup stocked with brisket, house-made meatballs and slippery rice noodles.

You’ll love it, pho sure.

Since chef Danny Mai opened the restaurant off the Plaza in late January, Wine Country has been indulging in plenty of other uncommon-for-the-area Asian dishes, as well, such as Sichuan mapo tofu fancied with wood ear mushroom, eggplant quinoa, rice and Sichuan sauce; Peking duck bao dressed with hoisin gastrique, Fresno chile, cilantro and cucumber; and a most unusual delicacy, ginger chicken porridge.

It’s unusual, because as with most of his recipes, Mai puts his own spin on the classic. Instead of a thick Chinese congee, his porridge is based on creamy rice stocked with slow poached organic chicken, carrots, and gai lan (broccoli). His Northern China green onion pancakes are thinner than the typical version, meanwhile, and delightfully crisp, dotted with minced pork XOXO sauce and shiitake mushroom. And his fork tender brisket is infused with seven spice, served as an entrée alongside wasabi-spiked potato croquette and braised carrots.

Woven throughout are Sonoma touches, from local ingredients to sparkling fresh flavors. Pickles are some of the best in the North Bay, as a combo plate of Chinese mustard greens, kimchee and beets, while more perfect pickles appear in a Baby Gem and seaweed salad dotted with robust pickled persimmon.

Still, more mainstream diners can be happy with more straightforward bites, too, including juicy steamed dumplings stuffed with Shanghai pork and shrimp for dunking in shoyu-hot chile sauce, or crispy spring rolls.

Whatever you order, save room for the tres leche waffle. The only way to describe it is as a sumptuous marriage of sweet, fluffy cake, topped with persimmon brulee, crème fraiche and candied pistachio.

Different, and entirely delicious.

335 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 395-0318

Find more Sonoma County restaurants here. Sonoma County Restaurant Week runs Mar. 7-13, 2016

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