After a hike in Armstrong Woods, paddling along the Russian River or biking the Healdsburg Loop with stops at area wineries, baby boomer travelers visiting Sonoma’s Russian River Valley will have worked up an appetite. Before leaving on your active boomer adventure to California wine country, plan ahead. Make a dinner reservation at the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant on River Road in Forestville.
The yellow clapboard, unassuming farmhouse sits in a glade of trees with a wide lawn edged by flowering perennials. Inside you’ll appreciate the understated decor combined with a quiet ambiance which has gone missing in most of our modern eateries. Although you don’t have to stay at the Farmhouse Inn to dine at the Michelin-starred restaurant, Alan and I highly recommend the complete experience.
On our visit to the Russian River Valley, we enjoyed a Thursday night dinner at the farm to table restaurant where Chef Steve Litke works his magic with locally sustained, organically grown food products. From our table by the window, we looked out onto the front lawn, green from spring rains, while we studied the menu.
The wine steward helped us choose a before dinner glass of wine from the extensive selection. Alan enjoyed an Albariño, Iberian Remix, Central Coast – 2008, while I chose a Syrah, Scherrer, Russian River Valley – 2006.
Since we’re careful about how much we eat, Alan and I decided to share an appetizer of roasted Delta asparagus and Auracana egg accompanied by La Quercia prosciutto chip, fava bean, ramp, and chive blossom. It was like spring on a plate.
Alan claimed that his main course, grilled ribeye, was the most tender cut of beef he had ever experienced. For me, the wild Alaskan halibut topped with green garlic Dungeness crab legs and surrounded by preserved lemon-green olive sauce was the perfect blending of taste. Both of us appreciated the moderate portions. Quality versus quantity wins in our book.
The wait staff provided smooth, unassuming service that rivaled any we have experienced on luxury cruise ships. They knew just when to clear, what questions to ask and how to serve us without hovering. Maitre d’, Christopher Fohner, has trained them well.
When dessert arrived, the chocolate souffle puffed up slightly as the server poured in the brandy cream sauce. That was the moment I regretted my sharing arrangement with Alan. I wanted this chocolate experience all to myself.
At Farmhouse Restaurant, the ambiance, service and cuisine combined into one of our most unforgettable dinners. It was so special that photographing the food would have ruined the experience for us and for those guests sitting around us. We’ll leave you with a photo of the building and grounds. You’ll have to visit yourself to view the wonderfully prepared food.