Eating Out, Travel

Farmhouse Inn – Relaxation and Fine Dining in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley

To welcome in the new year, I enjoyed a relaxing stay at Farmhouse Inn, a luxury boutique hotel tucked away in Sonoma Country’s Russian River Valley. The charming property is owned by fifth-generation farmers, Joe and Catherine Bartolomei and features 25 guest rooms and two farm-to-table restaurants.

I recommend splurging for a spacious barn suite, which comes with a well-appointed bathroom with heated marble floors, a steam shower, and jetted-marbled soaking tub. I also enjoyed walking around the calming, rustic property, which features a heated pool, gardens, chicken coop, fire pits, and wellness barn.

As equally impressive as the rooms and property, is the onsite Farmhouse Restaurant led by chef de cuisine Craig Wilmer, a Bay Area local with kitchen experience at high profile restaurants including Petit Crenn and COI. After the retirement of founding chef Steve Litke, and a remarkable legacy of 13 consecutive Michelin stars, Farmhouse Restaurant had a couple transitional years before they found Wilmer last year.

While I didn’t get to experience the Farmhouse Restaurant prior, I very much enjoyed the current iteration under Wilmer’s lead. The seasonal 6-course tasting menu was made even more decadent for New Year’s Eve, with caviar in each course. A champagne-focused pairing was the perfect celebratory compliment. I was beyond impressed with each dish, the extensive wine program, and the knowledgeable service. 

Dinner started off strong with three amuse bouches and two lighter dishes, including a crab salad with fennel, avocado, and caviar. Normally modest braised rainbow chard was elevated with golden osetra caviar. And the seaweed butter that came with the bread course was addictively good.

The Mt. Lassen Trout was perhaps the most stunning dish in the beautifully presented meal. Different root vegetables were cut and arranged to resemble colorful fish scales. Duck-fat fried potato squares and a bright, citrusy sauce with calamansi completed the trout. Classic, tender steak au poivre rounded out the savory courses.

Even the banana and ice cream dessert had a generous dollop of caviar and gold flakes. A satisfyingly sweet and salty ending to a memorable meal. We were given a couple mignardises, as well as madeleines and chocolate chip cookies to take away.

At $275 for the tasting menu and a $150 wine pairing, dinner is certainly a treat, but one I highly recommend for a special experience. I wouldn’t be surprised if they receive a Michelin star again!

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