Thursday, May 8, 2008


Cannelini with pancetta and onions, fresh herbs, Parmesan, and olive oil
Pizzetta with bagna cauda, mozzarella, Kalamata olives, red onions, and fresh herbs
Ravenette Café: 117 North St., Healdsburg, California; Tel: 707-431-1770

HEALDSBURG HAS BECOME a restaurant destination; people fly up here from Los Angeles now for the food and the wine and the expensive hotels. Another new restaurant is opening this week, and we'd intended to eat there tonight, but the place was already jammed, so we walked a block uptown to Ravenous.

Small room seating twenty or so; small kitchen with room for two; pleasant and enthusiastic service; an enterprising menu with reasonable prices; a good local wine list. Not much not to like: and, in fact, it's a favorite of locals.

(The name? It's next door to the Raven Theatre, formerly the Aven, itself named for its founder's wife, back in the 1930s. Originally it was called Ravenous, but when another space was found for the restaurant, around the corner in a spacious bungalow, the owners decided to keep this space as well: hence Ravenette.)

I'd expected the cannelini to be a salad but they were in fact, as you see, a soup, and an unctuous one at that. Nicely cooked, rich with herbs and pancetta, smooth with glorious olive oil.


The pizzetta had a fine crust, not too thin but certainly on the thin side, crisp and flavorful in itself. The mozzarella rather overcame the bagna cauda, I thought, and oregano added another dominant note; but I liked the contribution those olives made, mushroomy in texture and depth. All in all, a rich and pungent dinner: I think I'll have a Fernet and soda before tonight's tea. But don't get me wrong: it was a good dinner, and I'd go back to Ravenous just about any day.

Unti Segromigno 2006 (80% Sangiovese, 20% Barbera, local and biodynamic)

No comments: