SingleThread Farm, Restaurant and Inn opened in December 2016 and is a large corner building in Healdsburg, an hour and a half drive from San Francisco. Upstairs they have some elegant rooms to stay in and downstairs they have a large kitchen and several dining areas. There is a roof top terrance for some courses but it was not in use the night we were there. The building is quite modern, with soft lighting and music, set with large bare wood tables, a wood ceiling, gold wood tiles on some walls, some faux fire places, a bouquet of flowers and herbs from their garden on top of your napkin and lots of bench seating filled with extra cushions for back support. They only seat about 52 people but some early diners’ tables were turned. The reservation system is a pre-pay one with no refunds but you can try and re-sell tickets if you can’t use them. Service was wonderful with most every person who approached our table addressing us by name. Pacing is at a good rate and portion controls allows you to easily get through the surprise tasting (pairings are available) but will not leave you hungry. At the end of the meal they do present you with a copy of the menu.
When we entered, after we handed off our coats, we were served a warm ginger tea while we stood at the large window looking into the busy kitchen.
After finishing we were escorted into the dining room where they had already placed a huge array of snacks, called Late Autumn in Sonoma. It included Japanese clams, oysters, mussle, Japanese mackerel, Spanish mackerel, Gem lettuce with sesame and yogurt and sea urchin. Most of the fish were raw and chopsticks were at each place. All of the bites were excellent with good flavor, some better than others but too many to comment on each.
After you finished some another set of snacks was added to the mix, a malted potato with preserved lemon, an egg from their farm with egg custard topped with truffle and cheese and a local wagyu with a small squash. Afterwards you were given a warm cloth (interesting with one smooth side and one side of terrycloth) scented with lemongrass to clean up. The beef didn’t have the flavor of a Japanese wagyu but the other two were very full of flavor with mostly smooth textures.
The Sonoma Dungeness Crab was presented with persimmon, squash consommé. Buddha’s Hand and Kani Miso. It was the beginning of the season for Dungeness crab which had been steamed and some made into a salad while other parts were in solid chunks. Persimmons had been hung and dried and kabocha squash was used for the consommé. Kani miso is the grey/green paste in crab guts with a taste a bit like liver. The squash had a delicious yet mild flavor and it blended great with the other ingredients. It was a winner.
Monterey Bay Abalone was with Celtuce cream(stem lettuce), Passmore Ranch caviar and wild seaweed. When this course was presented it was introduced as having Golden Osetra caviar from Munich but when I got the menu it said it was from Passmore Ranch, which is in CA., so I’m not sure where it came from but the caviar was lovely with a fairly mild flavor. Our nice waiter, Jonny, had spent time in Germany and we talked about some restaurants there with him and he said he’d asked the chef to use the German caviar that they’d gotten for a special event and had some left. I believe the menus were pre-printed so they might not reflect your personal meal. The seaweed was from the coast as was the abalone. It was smooth with a wonderful chewiness. All the parts of this dish blended perfectly into a great end result.
Housemade tofu was plated with North Coast mushrooms, pinenuts and turnips. The custardy tofu was alongside some foraged chanterelles, baby turnips, shiitakes and other mushrooms. This course had an assortment of flavors and textures, crisp and smooth, that all worked great together. It was a total winner.
Guinea Hen Roulade was plated with sunchoke, charred broccoli and preserved lemon. The roulade contained foie gras and was adorned by some Jerusalem artichokes and young broccoli. All were very tender with a good variety of textures and a wonderful lingering taste that it left in your mouth.
A basket of handmade saki cups was brought to the table for you to chose one to use. It was to accompany Black Cod with yuba, Matsutake mushrooms, herb dashi and Bloomsdale spinach and scallions from their farm. The aromatic broth was a good background for the delicate fish. It was good.
Duclair Duck was plated with Koginut squash, duck heart and pumpkin seeds. The duck was from New York and served nicely rare yet with almost all fat rendered and a wonderful crispy skin. Alongside was a slice of roasted Koginut squash, a purée of seeds and a duck heart. All were perfectly cooked with the duck almost melting in your mouth. The sauce with it was a pumpkin vinaigrette with pumpkin seed oil and duck jus. It was a terrific course.
Sonoma Grains included chestnut, pear, sweet potato and cipollini onion. A Japanese barley was made with 72 hour braised short ribs and mixed with chestnut purée and crispy farro. Japanese sweet potatoes rounded out the plate nicely for a very savory fusion of flavors and textures. Another winner.
Beet root sorbet was alongside pomegranate, malted black rice and olive oil marshmallow. Another winning combination of flavors and textures. Lots of crunch and smoothness all brimming with flavor. Very good.
Fresh Jersey Cream was alongside Mountain Rose apples and mugi miso. The Jersey cream was surrounded by a thin crisp pastry and the miso was turned into a rich caramel. The apples, pastry and caramel all had different textures that went well with the sweet cream. Nice flavors throughout. The little curled up pastry was nicely caramelized and really reminded me of similar things we’ve had in Paris – yum.
Dessert was like the first snacks – an array of things called Wagashi and included mulled pinot noir, chestnut cream, rosemary and yuzu & cardomom. The yuzu was in a tapioca custard that was very good. Ginger ganache was covered in seeds. The ‘egg’ was a white chocolate filled with chestnut cream and was okay. The ‘leaves’ were crepes with dehydrated gooseberries and were also okay. All strongly flavored but not the usual dessert array and not as satisfying as the savory portion of the meal.
The bill was presented on a sewing box that opened to find several spools of thread.