Chef Adolfo Veronese of Aventine, which will open in Glen Ellen later this spring. Veronese and his brother Gian-Paolo are part of SF’s Alioto clan. Photo courtesy of Aventine.
Oso Sonoma will open in May, a project of David Bush, the former chef of award-winning St. Francis Winery. Photo courtesy of Oso.
The pool of the Les Mars Hotel in Healdsburg has been filled in to make way for a new patio at Chalkboard Restaurant. There will also be a new fine dining option beginning later this month. Photo courtesy of Chalkboard.
French Blue Becomes ~ARCHETYPE~: Late last year, Calistoga’s ~SOLAGE~ took over the St. Helena restaurant to upgrade its menu and service. This week, the new name and new executive chef, Ryder Zetts, were announced. Prior to Archetype, chef Zetts spent the last six years as chef de cuisine at Michelin-rated Solbar at Solage Calistoga. Earlier Zetts was chef de partie at the renowned Inn at Little Washington, a Relais & Châteaux hotel in Washington, Virginia, and served as chef de partie at Bouchon Bistro in Yountville. The restaurant’s award-winning interior—named one of the “10 Most Beautifully Designed New Restaurants” by Architectural Digest—will undergo thematic enhancements to match the transition, with an aim to retain the comfort and beauty of the dining room. 429 Main St., St. Helena.
Aventine to Open: the funky Jack London Village in Glen Ellen has long been rife with dining possibilities, if not always success stories. Although the charming Olive and Vine and the Himalayan eatery Yeti are flourishing in the village, the large Grist Mill building has seen restaurant after restaurant struggle and fail, despite its spectacular outdoor seating and quiet location.
That may soon change with the arrival of ~AVENTINE~. The sceney bar and restaurant concept headed up by Adolfo and Gian-Paolo Veronese has locations in San Francisco and Hollywood, with a third slated to open in late spring in Glen Ellen.
Chef Adolfo (Wolfgang Puck, Drago, Evvia) plans an Italian osteria menu with arancini, Sicilian lemon-marinated octopus, burrata, wood-fired pizzas (we’re especially excited about the tartufo with black truffle honey, béchamel, and arugula), roasted pumpkin ravioli, short rib pappardelle, branzino, grilled lamb chops, and desserts like pumpkin pot de creme, coffee panna cotta, fried dough with Nutella and jam, and caramel budino. There’s also a full bar (one of only three in Glen Ellen) and inside and outside dining—it’s perfect for summer.
Oso Coming to Sonoma: Chef David Bush, who propelled St. Francis Winery to be voted “Best Restaurant in America” on OpenTable, has left to open his own restaurant, ~OSO~, on the Sonoma Square. Bush says the restaurant will have two parts: a front lounge with small plates ($6-$18) and wine by the glass, and a dining area that will be reserved for a prix-fixe five-course tasting menu (around $65 per person) with an optional $35 wine pairing.
“The goal is to execute a tasting menu in the main dining room with a strong emphasis on pairing my food with local wines,” Bush said, making the fit a natural for the winery chef. With local sommelier Brian Kulich on board, the list is certain to have some stellar off-the-radar boutique gems on the list. The menu is still in development, but Bush calls it “New California—local, seasonal, and eclectic, but not esoteric.” Because really, who needs esoteric on their plate?
“Opening a restaurant has been my goal since I started cooking at age 14,” said Bush. “Stuffy doesn’t work in Sonoma, (but) what does is excellent food and hospitality. We want to…give people an experience that has been absent for too long on Sonoma’s plaza.” Opening is slated for dinner service in late May. Lunch and brunch will be coming soon. 9 East Napa St.
Chalkboard Expanding and Expanding: The popular ~CHALKBOARD~, which took over the Cyrus space at the Les Mars Hotel last year, is upping its game. Starting in late April, they’ll be offering an eight-course-plus prix-fixe tasting menu in the hotel’s revamped “library room” on Friday and Saturday nights. The intimate space seats just 16, and according to chef Shane McAnelly, it’s “the next step up” for the Bill Foley-owned restaurant. It’s hard not to start making comparisons to Cyrus, with its haute tasting menus and Michelin-star status, but McAnelly says the vibe will be all Chalkboard. “For us, it’s just a chance to have some fun. I am really excited and passionate about this next evolution of our restaurant,” he said.
The menu is still in development, but an exclusive sneak preview includes dishes like kampachi crudo, bacon consommé with pork belly and 63-degree quail egg, pancetta-wrapped duck breast with duck liver mousse, grilled rib-eye steak with bone marrow, and a dessert called the “Drunk Elvis” with banana, peanut butter, rum, bacon, and chocolate ganache. The dinner will run about $100 per person, and additional wine pairings will be offered.
But wait, there’s more. The hotel’s pool has been filled in (who even knew there was a pool?) to make way for an expanded patio area, expected to open later this spring. 29 North St., Healdsburg, 707-473-8030.
BOB Sandwich Winners: It’s taken nearly a week just to digest all the amazing sandwich creations from the 12 Sonoma County restaurants that competed in last week’s ~BATTLE OF THE BREWS ‘WICH HUNT~. In its third year, the contest pits chef against chef to come up with the best sandwich of the year. This year’s winner was once again ~JOHN ASH & CO.~ with a mini pork schnitzel sandwich that wowed the judges. Other winners included newcomer Fig & Vine for its pork belly pâté banh mi; La Rosa’s beer-braised pork belly; Cloverdale’s Savvy on First with the Angry Bird (fried chicken sandwich with candied jalapeños); Belly’s braised pork shoulder with braised pork belly; and the soon-to-open Earth’s Bounty with a pulled-duck biscuit.