Bird and the Bottle Opens, New Shed Chef, Best Fish Tacos, New Sonoma Tapas


The kitchen of the newly opened Bird and the Bottle in Santa Rosa. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.


Chicken liver mousse with pumpernickel bread at Bird and the Bottle. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.


Fried chicken and whole fish with biscuits. The entrées are part of the Jewish/Korean/Southern menu at Bird and the Bottle. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.


Cheesy grits with preserved egg and schmaltz at Bird and the Bottle. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.


Pimento cheese and biscuits at Bird and the Bottle. Photo courtesy of Heather Irwin.


Perry Hoffman joins Shed as the culinary director. Photo courtesy of Shed.


Manuel Azevedo and his sister Lucia. Azevedo will open a new tapas restaurant just off the Sonoma Square in January. Photo: Heather Irwin

By 707 correspondent Heather Irwin. Sign up for the BiteClub Newsletter.

Longtime Sonoma County restaurateurs Mark and Terri Stark have finally (finally) opened their sixth restaurant, ~BIRD AND THE BOTTLE~, in Santa Rosa. It wasn’t without some labor pains, which included everything from permitting and ABC challenges to managing the $1.5 million renovation. But the pain will be soon forgotten when the restaurant turns out to be pretty darn perfect. I’ll be writing more about the menu and the whole story behind what Mark is lovingly calling his “Jew-rean” menu in the coming weeks, but here’s the 411 on what you need to know:
- The menu is a mash-up of Jewish comfort food, Southern classics, and a little Korean. That means dishes like cheesy grits with maitake mushrooms, cured egg, and spicy schmaltz ($10), kimchi latkes ($10), and matzo ball ramen ($10). Somehow it all works.
- The cocktail menu is equally inspired, with hard teas; drinking vinegars paired with vodka, bourbon, and tequila; and giant cocktail shakers with drinks for the table.
- Schmears are a great snack or lunch item, with chicken liver mousse, smoked black cod, and barbecued bone marrow served with pumpernickel rye ($10-$14).
- The restaurant’s name refers to a saucy double entendre describing late-night pleasures of pre-World War I young men about town—“hot bird and a cold bottle.” We’ll let you guess which was the saucy dish and which was the Champagne.
- A $20,000 indoor wood-fired grill is the kitchen’s centerpiece, with live-fire grilling of fish, breads, veggies, and of course, heartier meats. A commercial smoker gives duck and fish perfect flavor.
Tons more photos from the opening on my blog. Open daily for lunch and dinner. 1055 Fourth St., Santa Rosa, 707-568-4000.

Team Sonoma Gets a Heavy Hitter: The former chef of Napa’s Étoile at Domaine Chandon, Perry Hoffman, has taken over the kitchens of Healdsburg’s ~SHED~ as culinary director.

The Michelin-starred chef (and culinary wunderkind) will oversee the entire culinary program at the hybrid café, marketplace, and “modern grange hall,” including breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner at the café, as well as private dining and events. And while Hoffman’s wheelhouse is white-tablecloth dining at tony spots like Étoile and Napa’s Auberge du Soleil, he’ll be loosening things up to accommodate the more casual vibe of Shed.

Part of Hoffman’s new gig will include getting his hands dirty at Shed owners Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton’s Home Farm, a working farm that provides produce for the café.

A few fun facts about Hoffman:
- His grandparents Sally and Don Schmitt were the original owners of The French Laundry in Yountville and founders of The Apple Farm in Philo.
- Hoffman was the youngest chef ever to win a Michelin star, at the age of 25.
- He was a co-founder of Carneros Micros, a microgreen and edible flower farm.
- Hoffman replaces chef Miles Thompson, who joined Shed in January.

Shed has hosted a string of talented chefs in its kitchen since opening in 2013. 25 North St., Healdsburg, 707-431-7433.

Fish On: The fishmongers of ~SANTA ROSA SEAFOOD RAW BAR AND GRILL~ have opened a new restaurant with—and I say this with all seriousness—the best fish tacos I’ve ever had. That may have a lot to do with the fact that most of the fish comes in daily and is already incredible. Rather than being batter-dipped and fried within an inch of its life, delicate whitefish (usually cod, but it changes with the fresh catch) is adorned only with pico de gallo, cabbage, and chipotle aioli. Fish and chips are also outstanding—the kind you always wish you could get at the beach, but never do. Larger entrees like blackened ahi tuna, petrale sole piccata, and cioppino are also stunners. Just keep in mind that lines are starting to form, and the space is small.Open Wed-Sun. 946 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-579-2085.

News on the Sonoma Square: LaSalette’s Manuel Azevedo has purchased Sonoma’s Epicurean Connection, with plans to open a tapas restaurant and wine bar in the space in early 2016. Dubbed ~TASCA TASCA TAPAS RESTAURANT AND WINE BAR~, the forthcoming eatery is the third for Azevedo, who also owns Sonoma’s LaSalette and Café Lucia in Healdsburg. Both have won numerous accolades for Azevedo’s cozinha nova portuguesa, or “new Portuguese cuisine.”

Tasca Tasca’s menu will reflect Azevedo’s focus on Portuguese cooking, small plates style. Dishes will include Portuguese mac and cheese, raw oysters with lemon fennel mignonette, house-smoked California sturgeon, Azoriana sliders with pork and São Jorge cheese, goat stew with fingerling potatoes, and pork belly with Madeira glaze. There will also be many other authentic and seasonal tapas including a variety of salads, soups, and sweets. A curated wine list focuses on Portuguese wines and an extensive Port and Madeira selection. 122 W. Napa St., Sonoma.

Sheana Davis, who opened Epicurean Connection in 2010, has no plans to hang up her apron anytime soon. The cheesemaker, caterer, and educator will be expanding her cheesemaking operations with her Delice de la Vallee and Creme de Fromage cheeses (found at swank spots like The French Laundry). She also plans to continue to cater and host a variety of classes throughout the region, as well as in NYC and New Orleans.