Barndiva is the perfect name for a restaurant that puts an upscale twist on farm-to-table dining. From the moment you walk in the door you’ll be on sensory overload with art deco lining the walls, funky music pipping through the speakers, and of course glorious aromas wafting from the kitchen.
Reservations aren’t required at this Healdsburg hot-spot, though highly recommended especially if visiting on a weekend night. If you have to wait, the full service bar is front and center at the entrance, so sidle up and order one of the signature house cocktails or a glass of sparkling wine (heck, it is wine country).
The menu is seasonal, and Chef Ryan Fencher, formerly of Napa’s French Laundry and more recently Sonoma’s El Dorado Kitchen, keeps selections elegantly simple. A recent visit featured Yellowfin Tuna Crudo, complete with a bed of sticky rice, garnished with pickled chilis and thinly sliced avocado, delicately dressed with a tamari soy sauce — an exciting, but light appetizer and the perfect way to begin a meal.
This theme of freshness runs through main and dessert as well. Even the lobster risotto that accompanies the perfectly seared sole is so light both in texture and weight, that it borders on a cream-based bisque on the palate. And, for me, the perfect ending to this exquisite meal is absolutely the deconstructed cheesecake complete with a berry coulis.
231 Center St.; (707) 431-0100. www.barndiva.com. Lunch and dinner Wednesday-Sunday. Full bar. Reservations accepted. Main courses at dinner: $26-$42.
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