Sanford was opened by Sandy D’Amato and his wife Angie in 1989 in the building that formerly housed the grocery store his family operated for nearly 80 years. In 2012 the D’Amato pair sold the place to longtime Chef De Cuisine Justin Aprahmian and his wife Sarah who continue to run the place in the tradition in which it was started. They want to use the best quality ingredients from local farms if possible with seasonal fluctuations. They want guests to feel as if they’ve been invited into their home for dinner. The white cloth covered tables vary in size and are accompanied by music in the background, lowered lighting and parking on the street or $10 valet. The menu is a 4 course (you chose out of choices) or 7 course surprise tasting with optional pairings and there is a full bar. Service was friendly and attentive. Pacing and portioning of the tasting were good.
We started with a Negroni cocktail before the 7 course tasting with wine pairings. They promised to email a copy of the menu and did so promptly.
An amuse bouche was Kohlrabi purée with marinated black leaf kohlrabi, black currant and pickled lovage blossom. It was an excellent bite with lovely flavor and texture.
Sourdough rolls were not made in house but were good. Served warm with a nice chunk of butter they had a slightly crispy outside surrounding a doughy dense center.
Hook’s aged cheddar boereg was with pickled watermelon and fresh mint. The aged cheddar was in a phyllo dough and was a nice bite. It mixed well with the watermelon reduction, pickled onions and mint.
Citrus seared sea scallop was over roasted cauliflower soup and brussels sprouts with lobster oil. The nicely cooked scallop had mild flavor as did the soup and vegetables. It was all good but mild.
Seared swordfish, scalded spinach and apples were with tamarind blackberry barbeque and sesame butter. The fish was a tad overcooked but the sauce had such a strong wonderful flavor you didn’t mind. The plate also had lovely textural contrasts for a successful dish.
Crispy head cheese was on tomato preserve and grilled chicory and decorated with pickled peppers. This was a yummy one with lots of great flavors and textures. It was something different and very fun.
Slow roasted beef short rib was plated with maple mascarpone polenta and wild mushrooms on red wine reduction. The sweet polenta went nicely with the beef and greens. The sous vide cooked short rib was nicely tender and flavorful. This plate was filled with nice tastes, including some fennel flavor.
A transition course was persimmon chilled soup was with a pear anise lime sorbet. A piece of pickled persimmon was on top. This had amazing fruit flavor and nice texture. It was really good.
Dessert was a pistachio pound cake with candied lemon rind, poached fig, driftless cheese, wildflower preserve and goat cheese ice cream. This was a nice combination of flavors with just enough sweet to be a fine finish.
Last treats were a cashew chew that was chewy delicious, a shortbread cookie that was buttery, and a biscotti that was crisp and yummy.