Sunday, March 16, 2014


Eastside Road, March 16, 2014—
WE'VE BEEN HERE before, and we'll probably be here again — it's a reliable small-plates bistro, I guess you'd call it, with a palate that reaches carefully toward the exotic. We started with an order of flatbread, which is treated to plumped dried figs, sliced Serrano ham, and Bellwether Farms crescenza cheese and heated to a nice temperature.

I went on to my usual standby here: a couple of lamb chops done "Moroccan style," perfectly grilled (black on the outside, pink on the inside), covered with perhaps too many sliced almonds, and served with braised arugula and couscous flavored with preserved lemon and spiced almonds. A drizzle of Balsamic vinegar reduction, I suppose.

Everything here has salt and flavor. The French fries meet truffle-infused oil somewhere on their way to the table. That's all right with me.

Syrah/Grenache/Mourvèdre blend, Front Porch (Russian River, Sonoma county),2011: nicely blended and balanced
• Willi's Wine Bar, 4404 Old Redwood Highway, Santa Rosa; (707) 526-3096

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