A couple of weeks ago received a message that Dave Cruz would be cooking at his friend Dan Kedan's restaurant Backyard in Forestville, CA. We immediately made a reservation.
Walking up to the restaurant after a 9 mile jaunt across Santa Rosa, passing by Willowside Meat (the butcher), and a right-hand turn onto Hwy 116, things looked familiar. Nearly 15 years ago, my husband and I ate at this restaurant before it became Backyard this past November. On a drive back from the Mendicino Coast, it was a convenient stopping place. Hearing a bit about Backyard from Chef Dave Cruz, we wanted to try it, and now that we know it's exact location, we'll be back when we're headed to the Redwood Coast.
Arriving after a busy couple of weeks, and thankful for a holiday weekend, I ordered "Tim's Mocha," which was most enjoyable. I'd drive this way just for this coffee drink, told by friends that it had whipped cream within. It's nice to know this restaurant shops the way we do at home, including dairy from Strauss Family Creamery.
The night's menu, five-courses featuring the bounties of Northern California and guest chef Dave Cruz, began with a trio of Amuse bouche. The crostini with kimchi, bacon beignet and buttered radish were served on a hazelnut wood tray.
The kind chefs sent out a flatbread with miner's lettuce, onion and sausage for us to try.
To the table came a beet and wheat berry salad with a yogurt and mint sauce. The Sonora wheat berries were perfectly cooked and made one think of the fiber and nutrients that support good living.
|Pasta being made earlier in the day, as posted on Backyard's Facebook page.|
|and the finished product: Tagliatelle with egg, king trumpet mushroom and parmesan|
Wild Alaskan halibut with quinoa flavored with flavorful carrots. Another dish that makes one think of living well, in good harmony with the earth. A dish that shows good stewardship/husbandry of the soil, plants and animals. Wish the world's population could all eat like this, we would feel better in our 'environmental skin.'
Grilled beef with potatoes, black trumpet mushrooms, asparagus and garlic butter.
Three cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery: St. Pat's, Mt. Tam and Red Hawk with marmalade were sent from the kitchen with kindness.
Lemon posset with cherry, pistachio brittle and meringue. As possets should be, it was like a lemon soup (thickened liquid). The flavors were bright, and cherry rich.
The owners Dan Kedan and his wife (her birthday, no less), are sweet and passionate about their restaurant. It has to be a good feeling to get up, work hard and know that while reaping the reward of long work, one's doing no harm to the world one's children will grow. The feeling of the restaurant is definitely family and future oriented. What a nice place to happen upon on the way to or from the Mendecino Coast, or it could strike one's fancy enough to stay in West Sonoma County permanently.