Sonoma County has a plethora of dining venues. Some are elegant, some are down home and others meets neither objective. To enjoy high quality fresh comfort food in the Sonoma wine country John Ash & Co. located at Vintners Inn (by Ferrari-Carano since 2000) is a top-notch choice. The restaurant, and its accompanying Front Room Bar and Lounge, is located at 4350 Barnes Road, just off Highway 101 near the River Road exit a couple of miles north of Santa Rosa. John Ash & Co. prides itself in its farm-to-table approach using locally sourced (including their own local gardens) seasonal vegetables, fruits, herbs, seafood and meats to create delicious and beautiful dishes representing the bounty of the wine country.
A recent foray there resulted in an exquisite experience of color, flavor, freshness and satisfaction. Executive Chef Thomas Schmidt, a local to the San Francisco Bay Area, honed his skills through operations of his own catering company and later as a restaurateur in Germany in the late 80’s and has been Executive Chef since 2008.
The menu was a collection of comfort inspiring combinations of ingredients which lent themselves to special wine pairings. It is no surprise that the wine list is stocked with more than 600 wines, predominantly, from Sonoma County, with a few deviations to other California AVAs.
The menu enjoyed this evening included Roasted Heirloom Beets with Prosciutto and Burrata Cheese as well as Dungeness Crab Fritters – Waldorf with Aioli for Starters; Anchiote Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Chorizo, Scallion and roasted Cauliflower Polenta or; Tenderloin of Beef with Brussel Sprouts, Dates and Whipped Potatoes Bordelaise. Comfort food, no doubt, but prepared and presented with the finer points of haute cuisine considered and achieved.
The entrées were complimented by a three (3) cheese selection including a Bleu from Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co accompanied by port infused dried figs; a Mt. Tam from Cowgirl Creamery with a delightful quince paste and a Boho Belle, from Bohemian Creamery with wonderful apple thyme infused raisins. These cheeses were full flavored and nicely paired with the fruit, focaccia, bread and crackers provided. These selections were all cows’ milk but sheep and goat cheeses were also available.
The Round Pond 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon complimented this experience beautifully with smooth and well structured elegance! The corkage fee for the wine was $25. Round Pond is always a winner.
The service was personal and attentive but never overbearing this evening. Kudos to Todd and the rest of the staff. A very memorable and quite pleasant mid-week dinner out. Try it, you’ll like it!!