This fairly large place is located about an hour out of San Francisco. It was renovated after a fire in July 2014 that destroyed its kitchen. Chef David Kinch was said to have used the opportunity to re-think his menu and that in turn led to the restaurant receiving its third Michelin Star in Oct. of 2015. Even so, you could easily drive past the place which is located in a little shopping area where there was no sign of any garden activity to supply the place with fresh local items.
The restaurant offers only a tasting menu which you will be given a copy of after the meal. One thoughtful gesture about this was the inclusion of some information about the amuse bouche bites which often are not included in the menus given out. We started with petit fours which are repeated at the end of the meal only the beginning ones are savory flavors and the latter sweet. The red pepper jellies were a wow flavor and the olive madeleines had a nice crisp to the exterior. The granola crispy were nice but I’d call the chestnut truffles just okay. They kicked it up a notch with the orange beignets which had a wonderful onion finish to the taste.
The seafood assortment was mostly pleasant but some less than so tastes and overall did not meld together well for me but I did love the color of the bowl giving that ‘deep blue sea’ affect.
The flowers “Into the garden, green and bitter” was pleasant and I did like the custard underneath it all but it was a tad salty on the down side.
The grilled squid was accented with crispy fried onions and overall the tastes melded together better but there were still too many ingredients in the dish to me.
The scallop with the cracker had less ingredients and I enjoyed it much more. The abalone was tender but had very little taste and the fishiness of the roe on the plate messed up the tapioca. Overall it turned out okay but felt jumbled.
Moving on to the mushroom and truffle it finally worked. Now that had some wonderful flavors that worked together to make it a real winner.
The duck had been aged 2 weeks and was nicely moist and cooked perfectly but the yam gratin was dull and I ended up using the lemon sauce to give it flavor. The broth that came with the dish was salty and a tad fishy.
The presentation of the beef was spectacular but a weird assortment of stuff. The beef itself was aged and tasted great but I ended liking the presentation more than the flavors of the vegetables.
The Paris brest had a bit of marmalade on the bottom half of the pastry, which was terrific. The rest of the desserts were fine but not memorable. They also send you home with a couple boxes of granola that was pretty good. The best were the caramels I snagged on the way out the door. Now they were GOOD!