Eastside Road, November 25, 2012—A LITTLE LUNCH today, since we found ourselves with an odd hour and an old friend (in fact a sister-in-law) on our hands, and there's this new place in town, and why not.
Tapas is the nature of this new place, and the first item on the menu is Fermin Jamon Ibérico: why go further? But fortunately the ladies did: Lindsey ordered Bacalao fitters, which came with orange-infused aïoli and a little parsley salad; and Susan went for chorizo braised in cider served with Padron peppers. We shared, and we enjoyed. We'll return.
Manzanilla, Osborne• Bravas, , 420 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707.433.7700
Dinner remained somewhat in the Spanish mold at a meat-and-potatoes place an hour's drive south, where we met a couple of friends who'd made a similar drive from the east. I like the place, with reservations. It's comfortable, the ingredients are good, the technique solid, the service knowledgable and low-key; but the menu holds few surprises and the wine list, while fairly extensive and enterprising, seems to lack corners I'd expect. Still; and Oh well.
I had a nice though revisionist Caesar salad, with a hardboiled duck egg instead of the necessary raw egg dressing, and boquerones instead of proper anchovies, and lettuce instead of romaine. But still a nice salad.
Then John C. and I split a forty-ounce rib-eye steak, which came with roast potatoes and three sauces (horseradish cream, Bearnaise, "jus"), and was cooked exactly to specification, and had a fine dry-aged texture. First-rate, I thought. A little creamed spinach gratin on the side, with a hint of nutmeg.
Chablis Premier Cru, Vaillans, Domaine Barat, 2010 (tight and acid at first, but nice though light on opening later); Barbarescco, Cantina Sociale dei Produttori, 2007 (modest but nicely handled and a good fit with the steak)• El Paseo, , 17 Throckmorton Avenue, Mill Valley, California; 415.388.0741