Out in the middle of the woods in Sonoma County, there’s a little Inn and restaurant called Applewood. The cozy, secluded place actually used to be Michelin-ranked a couple years ago. Who knows where that star went but the food was definitely still worthy.
For our starter, we went with Duck Liver Mousse with toasted brioche, poached rhubarb, celery, cocoa and balsamic. Yes, I stole a copy of the menu just to get that all right. Anyway, if you’ve ever had pate, this was a creamier, richer and much much smoother version of that. So buttery and savory, but with little pops of crispy sweetness with the rhubarb and celery. The dish doesn’t seem like much, but it was actually more than enough mousse. We had to get more bread just to finish it.
We decided to skip salad and just get three entrees. The first was this potato gnocchi with octopus, cauliflower, chorizo and pea sprouts. Super soft, melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi. I think I’m officially a huge gnocchi fan.
Entree numero dos : a grilled New York strip steak with crispy smashed fingerling potatoes, heirloom broccolini topped with a drizzle of bearnaise. Those potatoes were amazing. We’ve attempted to make them at home with different potatoes and it just wasn’t the same. Gotta get my hands on some fingerlings!
Last entree of the night: the Roasted Lamb Loin! Medium-rare tender, they come out on risotto of farro mixed with maitake mushrooms and minted salsa verde with strips of shaved asparagus on top. Well-cooked, interesting textures, but this lamb loin didn’t blow my mind. Solid end to our entrees.
We were ready to call it a night but somehow this strawberry shortcake was calling out name. Filled strawberries tossed in olive oil and vanilla gelato, it made me wish I had saved a little more space in my tummy.
There are a couple of ways to eat here – the Chef’s Table, Russian River or simply going A La Carte. Chef’s table is a sampling of 6 courses planned by the chef each night. The Russian River is an occasional cheaper option that gives you a specific starter, entree and dessert. A La Carte is, of course, whatever you want. The chef was actually nice enough to let us order some of the special Chef’s table entrees a la carte as well. So it felt like we had the best of both worlds.
This meal took two hours, but it honestly didn’t feel that long at all. Well worth the time and the money. Felt way too spoiled that weekend, but hey, treat yo’ self!