Lots of little news nibbles this week to share, my little dumplings.
Charcuterie to become Persimmon: Lots of buzzing around the Healdsburg Square as details about the new Southeast Asian fusion restaurant, Persimmon, comes into focus. Executive Chef Danny Mai, formerly of the Sheraton Tolay, is still working on the menu but told BiteClub that it will definitely include a few Vietnamese staples.
“Of course I’ll have pho on the menu. If it’s not there, people will laugh me out of town,” he said, adding that banh mi sandwiches with house made pate and “soulful” dumplings are in the works.
Mai, who was a Vietnamese refugee, has embraced a variety of cooking styles throughout his career, including a stop at La Folie in SF and most recently … Mexican. The kicker to this story is that the Diaz family, Healdsburg’s Oaxacan culinary giants(Agave, El Farolito and Casa Del Mole), are the financial backers of Persimmon.
“The only way we can grow is to diversify our cuisine,” said Octavio Diaz of Agave. “There are so many Mexican restaurants already, and we want to do something different.”
Until the restaurant opens this fall, Mai is doing menu consulting for the Diaz family restaurants. We can’t wait to hear more.
Bistro Ralph will soon transition to Ralph’s Martini House. We’ve seen the menu, which focuses on smaller plates and lots of seafood.
Yes, the chicken livers, fries and Chicken Paillard are still on the menu, but we’re jonesing for new dishes such as hand-chopped ahi tartare, sweetbreads with brown butter, foie gras with nectarines, pork tamales, cauliflower steak with salsa roja and animal sundae with vanilla gelato, caramel, chocolate, espresso, toffee and whipped cream.
“It’s more modern and more relaxed,” said owner Ralph Tingle.
“That’s the way we’re dining now, and we have to be competitive.” To boot, the restaurant will feature a full bar rather than just the classic martinis they’ve served for 23 years.
With a few odds and ends still to finish on the revamped restaurant, Tingle said they’re still in *very* soft launch mode but will have a grand opening within a couple of weeks. 109 Plaza St., Healdsburg, 433-1380.
Step back in the John Ash and Co. time machine for a week of menus from founding chef John Ash’s recipe archive. (Hint, there’s brie involved.)
Celebrating the restaurant’s 35th anniversary, the $35 prix fixe menu Aug. 10-15 will feature lobster, corn and wild mushroom risotto with carrot-corn broth; orecchiette pasta with tiger prawns, asparagus, brie cream sauce, sun-dried tomato pesto and deep-fried capers (I’m suddenly transported to 1986); and venison loin in blackberry sage sauce. The restaurant also will have a regular menu with dishes from the past 35 years.
Considered the father of Wine Country Cuisine, Ash’s farm-to-table philosophy was groundbreaking when he opened in 1980. John Ash & Co. recently won Best Restaurant for a Romantic Meal in the Press Democrat’s Best Of Sonoma County contest.
Details are online at vintnersinn.com, and reservations can be made by calling 527-7687.
Ramen Gaijin is alive and kicking, despite some real estate changes at Forchetta/Bastoni, the restaurant space they sublease.
Chef Matthew Williams says he will keep serving up ramen as usual in the space, despite a temporary loss of their landlord’s liquor license. Short story: Keep on slurping, ‘cause the Gaijin boys are still serving up great Japanese cuisine. 6948 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol, 827-3609.