New Eatery Salt & Stone in Kenwood
With its many small towns, Sonoma County is known for its cozy neighborhood gathering spots, beloved by locals as much as they are by visitors seeking an excellent meal. The new Salt & Stone fits that bill perfectly, as the rebirth of a restaurant space dating back many decades. Originally, it was Bunny's Country Kitchen (famous for its fried chicken with biscuits and honey), next it was the Capri and, since 1987, Kenwood Restaurant.
A new eatery is born
Then, in December, chef David LaMonica and his wife, Diane LaMonica, opened Salt & Stone as a casual-chic global California eatery and oyster bar.
The former owners of Mendocino's acclaimed Cafe Beaujolais spruced things up with elaborate artwork and mirrors in the dining room, and dramatic lounge décor with copper accents and cattle skull wall art. As always, some of the most coveted seating is on the gorgeous patio anchored by a goldfish pond and lavish gardens.
Oysters are a big deal here, in a variety of preparations including raw, spicy ceviche with habanero, Maitre'd with parsley, garlic, onions and butter, or casino with bacon, leeks, red pepper and manchego.
In fact, seafood stars across the board though lunch and dinner. You'll find dramatic plates such as crispy curry calamari with shaved fennel, harissa aioli and brandied caper cocktail sauce, or ahi poke with seaweed salad, cucumber, potato gaufrette, wasabi cream and shiso oil. Simpler bites include blackened fish tacos, Dungeness crab cocktail and gulf prawn tempura.
Menus are lengthy, so there's something for every taste, be that duck confit, flatbread, French onion soup, Shanghai chicken salad, or cumin scented red quinoa with sautéed greens, wild mushrooms, garlic leeks and seasonal vegetables.
At dinner, things get even fancier, when the chef Arturo Guzman sends out fare such as sourdough crusted Petrale sole with mascarpone gold potato risotto, braised Swiss chard, baby carrots and caper beurre blanc, or rib eye with duck fat fingerling potatoes, local mushrooms, cipollini onion, broccolini, garlic paint, burgundy reduction and Shaft's Bleu butter.
Yet what's more relaxed and neighborhood friendly than weeknight Bistro Nights, where, for $30 (or $35 with a glass of wine), you can tuck into a three-course dinner including soup or salad du jour, chef's dessert and special entrees? Mouthwatering options include classics like beef bourguignon with roasted garlic potato puree, coq au vin with housemade black pepper rigatoni, or braised lamb shank with creamy mascarpone polenta.
Details: Salt & Stone, 9900 Sonoma Highway (CA12), Kenwood, 707-833-6326.