Archive for Cyrus Restaurant

CALIFORNIA DINNER #6 – CYRUS (HEALDSBURG)

Posted in Cyrus (Healdsburg), Wine Dinners with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 22, 2010 by ballymote

 For a lot of people coming to wine country, it’s a coin flip. The French Laundry or Cyrus. Both of these restaurants represent the best that the two valleys have to offer in the way of fine dining. Thomas Keller’s French Laundry is the heavyweight champion of Napa while Chef Douglas Keane’s Cyrus in Healdsburg reigns as the premier haven for “foodies” in Sonoma. It’s probably a little tougher to get a reservation at TFL but both will set you back some serious sheckles by the time you get your final tab. I had mentioned in a review that I did on TripAdvisor. com that we chose Cyrus because the bank would only lend us enough using our homes for collateral to afford Cyrus. The question thus becomes…..it it worth it?

Cyrus is an elegant restaurant. From the moment you are seated the catering begins. There are immediate choices to be made. Do we pass on the Champagne & Caviar Cart? We do. Do we want the five or nine course Tasting Menu. We opt for the five. Would we be including the wine pairings with each course? We choose to forego this and each choose our own wines to accompany the courses. My wife and I select glasses of red and white. For the white we have the 2008 Ramey, Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay, for our red we have the 2006 Copain, Hawks Butte, Syrah, Yorkville Highlands. Both wines are excellent and we each have two glasses of both which served as the perfect amount for our food. Gerry and Joann went with a nice half-bottle of the 2006 Chateau de Beaucastle, Chateauneuf du Pape. Tough to go wrong with that one. Joe and Carol had an Italian wine, not sure of the producer but it was a Rosso di Montalcino.

It has been exactly two weeks since our dinner at Cyrus and I have given a lot of thought as to how I was going to do this review. I’ve decided the review will be from only my point of view on what I had to eat and how I felt about the entire dining experience at Cyrus. At the end I will give my reasons for this variance in style.

An amuse bouche tower relating to the taste sensations of sour, sweet, salty, bitter, pungent and umami was presented. Each just a quick burst of one of these flavors.

It should be noted that each food item presented was worthy of a matted and framed picture. The kitchen does a masterful job of plating each dish for dramatic effect.

My first course was a beautiful Thai Lobster and Greek Salad.

This was followed by

Foie Gras Torchon with Fig and Pistachio, and Buttermilk Biscuit. Looks good, tasted better.

I should point out that throughout the evening we were constantly offered their wonderful fresh bread and rolls. I probably had six of them they were so good.

This is the Sugar Pie Pumpkin Soup, Chestnut Confit and Toasted Pepitas.

 Medai (Japanese Butterfish) with Sweet Corn and Scallions, Lemon Verbena. This was very light and flavorful. One of my favorites.

Sweet Corn and Black Truffle Risotto. Another delicious highlight of the meal, beautifully presented.

 Crispy Poussin with Potato Mousseline and Haricots Verts, Fine Herbs. Exquisitely cooked, fresh chicken.

I’ll show both desserts here as I had the first and my wife had the second.

This is my Mint Chocolate Chip, Lemongrass and Grains of Paradise, Hot Chocolate. Prettier than it really was. My wife’s red Velvet Cake. Must everything be deconstructed??

We were sent home with a Mignardise, a nicely boxed and very tasty Brownie which got to live for three more days before I had it with a morning cup of coffee.

So there it is, dinner at Cyrus. It’s not unlike going to the theatre. You have your main server who is assisted by a never-ending parade of assistants and busboys who are constantly removing plates and silverware and replacing them with shiny new utensils. It’s apparent they have performed this routine hundreds if not thousands of times. Was it the best meal I have ever had? No, only the most expensive. That’s not a complaint. I think you are paying for a food experience. One of our group ran into Georges Perrier, Chef/Owner of Philadelphia’s legendary Le Bec Fin restaurant, the week after our return. He mentioned to the Chef that he had been to Cyrus the prior week and that he hadn’t been blown away by the food. In his inimitable French accent Georges replied “ahhhhh..you have to learn to enjoy the moment” And that is probably better than I could have put it. Cyrus is about enjoying the moment. I did. The others will have to speak for themselves….in the comment section here, if they so choose!!

PRE-TRIP UPDATE #5 (FINAL)

Posted in Info on Wine, Pre-Trip Update #5 (Final) with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 29, 2010 by ballymote

A trip that we began planning over a year ago is now just a few short days away. The research is over, the reservations have been made, dinners arranged and winery appointments scheduled. I have always believed that much of the enjoyment of travel was in the planning and this was certainly no exception. I have had a blast during every phase of the research process. With hundreds of great wineries in Napa and Sonoma to choose from it is no easy process to come up with the very few we will have time to visit during our week. I’ve tried to concentrate not just on places with great wine, but more importantly, places with great people. 

 

We arrive in San Francisco on Saturday morning and after a full day tour of the city we will be dining at Rue Lepic on Nob Hill. On Sunday morning we will make our way to Sonoma, stopping for breakfast in Tiburon and checking into the Renaissance Lodge at Sonoma, our home for the week. After freshening up we plan on driving to Santa Rosa for the final day of the annual Sonoma County Harvest Fair, and after a healthy sampling of the wines competing for medals at the fair it will be time for dinner at Cole’s Chop House in Napa. Next Saturday, after making our way back to San Francisco, we will tour Alcatraz and enjoy dinner at Izzy’s Steaks and Chops before four of us head for the airport and our flight back home. Gerry and JoAnn will remain in the city by the bay for another 3 days.

Monday thru Friday will be our days for wine visits. It’s an exciting time of the year in Wine Country as the harvest is taking place in many of the areas we will visit. Here is  what our week may look like. Not all of these are booked or will take place, but it’s a nice outline of what the week may look like. Thanks,Gerry, for putting this together:   

Monday, October 04, 2010            8:45 AM      Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

                    40 miles ~60 mins to   10:00 AM    EMH Wines, 25 Rosedale Rd, Calistoga

Travel         02 miles ~05 mins to   12:00 PM     Vincent Arroyo, 2361 Greenwood,Calistoga

111 miles     04 miles ~10 mins to   2:00 PM       Chateau Montelena, 1429 Tubbs Ln, Calistoga

167 mins     07 miles ~12 mins to   3:30 PM       Larkmead, 1100 Larkmead Lane, Calistoga

                    36 miles ~48 mins to   5:30 PM       Ar Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

Wineries                                          7:00 PM       Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

Visited         22 miles ~32 mins to   8:00 PM       Dinner at Ad Hoc, 6476 Washington St,

    4                                                                      Yountville

                                                                                ____________________________

Tuesday, October 05, 2010            10:00 AM    Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

                    28 miles ~40 mins to   11:00 AM    Alpha-Omega,1155 Mee Lans, Rutherford

Travel         22 miles ~31 mins to   12:30 PM     Chalk Hill, 10300 Chalk Hill, Healdsburg

127 miles     17 miles ~25 mins to   1:30 PM       Mayo Family Tasting Room, 9200 Sonoma

202 mins                                                             Hwy, Kenwood-7 course wine/food pairing

                    16 miles ~25 mins to   3:00 PM       Swanson, 1271 Manley Lane, St Helena

Wineries      21 miles ~35 mins to   4:00 PM       Ravenswood, 18701 Gehricke Rd, Sonoma

Visited         03 miles ~06 mins to   5:00 PM       Ar Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

    5                                                  6:00 PM       Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

                    20 miles ~40 mins to   7:00 PM       Dinner at Bottega, 6525 Washington St,                                                                       Yountville

                                                         _________________________________________

 

Wednesday, October 06, 2010       9:00 AM      Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

                    24 miles ~36 mins to   10:00 AM    Kapcsandy Winery, 1001 State Lane, Napa

Travel         07 miles ~12 mins to   12:00 PM     Robert Baiale, 4038 Big Ranch Rd, Napa

57 miles       08 miles ~15 mins to   1:30 PM       Truchard Vineyards, 3234 Old Sonoma Rd,

93 mins                                                               Napa

                    07 miles ~13 mins to   3:00 PM       Del Dotto Cave Tour, 1055 Atlas Peak Rd, Wineries                                                   Napa

Visited         11 miles ~17 mins to   5:30 PM       Ar Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

    4                                                  7:30 PM       Dinner at Sonoma Renaissance Resort

                                                         _________________________________________

 

Thursday, October 07, 2010          9:00 AM      Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

                    42 miles ~65 mins to   10:15 AM    Bodega Bay

Travel         11 miles ~15 mins to   12:30 PM     Jenner

171 miles     16 miles ~30 mins to   2:30 PM       Armstrong St Prk, 17000 Armstrong

260 mins                                                             Woods Road, Guerneville

                    19 miles ~36 mins to   4:30 PM       Thumbprint, 36 North St, Healdsburg

Wineries      40 miles ~60 mins to   6:30 PM       Ar Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

Visited                                             8:00 PM       Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

    1              43 miles ~54 mins to   9:00 PM       Dinner at Cyrus, 29 North St, Healdsburg

                                                         _________________________________________

 

Friday, October 08, 2010               8:00 AM      Lv Sonoma Renaissance, 1325 Broadway

                    29 miles ~39 mins to   9:30 AM      Whitehall Lane, 1563 St Helena Hwy S,

Travel                                                                 St Helena

63 miles       08 miles ~15 mins to   11:30 AM    Paraduxx, 7257 Silverado Trail, Napa

93 mins       02 miles ~03 mins to   1:30 PM       Silverado Vineyards, 6121 Silverado

                                                                            Trail, Napa

Wineries      01 miles ~02 mins to   3:30 PM       Hartwell, 5795 Silverado Trail, Napa

Visited         23 miles ~34 mins to   6:00 PM       Dinner in Sonoma

I will certainly be busy writing restaurant and winery reviews in the days and weeks following this trip and I am looking forward to that challenge. My wife, Kathy, and myself are fortunate to be making this trip with four of our absolutely favorite people, Joe and Carol B. and Gerry and JoAnn B. The weather looks good with warm days and cool nights and we are psyched for a fabulous trip!

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