Ravenous (great food in Healdsburg)

Had a wonderful experience at Ravenous in Healdsburg Saturday night -- great food, service, and ambience.

Sunday was Rodney Strong's annual Wine and Chocolate Fantasy, so we headed up to Healdsburg the day before. Spent Saturday hiking (Armstrong Woods/Austin Creek just north of Guerneville, highly recommended if you like steep trails) rather than wine-and-food-ing, but had a great dinner Saturday night at Ravenous. We hadn't called ahead for reservations, and it's a tiny place, but they surveyed the goings-on at the bar and said they'd have counter seats for us in about 20 minutes, and I think they were spot-on.

We had a nice bottle of Dry Creek Merlot (1999?, $31), but as we watched the bartender work we kind of wished we'd ordered cocktails -- they hand-squeeze fresh fruit directly into the shakers and glasses, and the results looked great. Meriko introduced me to sidecars a few years ago, and it's been my standard ever since -- I bet Ron would have made a great one.

We started with a generous smoked salmon and caviar appetizer and a caesar salad. The salmon came with deep fried corn cakes (must have been a very fine corn meal, you couldn't tell by looking that it was corn) that we both really liked. The caesar had very fresh lettuce, a nice dressing (though I prefer it bolder), and big shavings of quality parmesan.

For entrees, I had a ribeye and John (one of those strange almost-vegetarian types) had the stuffed grilled poblano. The ribeye was cooked medium-rare as requested, and had a nice red wine-cognac butter melting on top. The twice-baked potato was good but not outstanding (I couldn't identify anything specifically wrong, but I didn't quite finish it, and I *always* finish my potatoes) and the grilled veggies were great. I only had a wee bite of poblano, but John really liked it. It also came with the grilled veggies.

We had a blood orange sorbet for dessert -- nice and tangy, with coconut macaroons that really complemented it.

Ron the Bartender was busy but took good care of us, and the maitre d' made sure everything was smooth throughout, after his very welcoming seating efforts.

The restaurant is nicely decorated -- warm orange walls, black wrought-iron fixtures, no hint of country-cute, but not pretentious-elegant. Not a high-romance spot, but warm and inviting.

The bill came to $103 (post-tax, pre-tip) for 2 apps, 2 entrees ($25 and $15, which I think were the highest- and lowest-priced), 1 dessert, 1 bottle of wine. We were very happy.

420 Center Street, Healdsburg
reservations highly recommended


Posted by andrea on February 11, 2003 | TrackBack

I enjoyed Ravenous when I was there a couple years ago. Cool atmosphere, I remember the walls being purple. And the Raven theater was next door, I think I saw a bad movie. But I agree - a good place to eat.

Posted by: Matt Kantor on February 24, 2003 6:16 PM

Don't go here. Made a res at Ravenous for a special occasion. Arrived 10 minutes late. They had given away our table, gave us lip about it and argued that their clock was more accurate than our watches! Some hospitality! They just had to make some apology about "table confusion" sat us at the bar for a few minutes and made it happen. Instead we arrived at our chosen restaurant to get a spanking. They have a lot to learn who cares about their food...

Posted by: J & E Bartman on April 12, 2005 11:26 AM

i've taken my wife here a couple times and love it. the patio out back is nice as is the dining area. we've always made early reservations and have never had any problems getting our table. service has always been good to very good and of course the food is amazing. good romantic spot.

Posted by: michael on April 20, 2005 4:06 PM

We made reservations for dinner @ 9pm on the patio to eat & listen to Earl Thomas. They had trouble finding us a table at first as everyone was on the patio to listen to music. But Holly went out of her way to accommodate us & gave us the best table in the front row for dinner. I felt like we were pampered clients. The food was excellent & so was the wine she suggested. It made lasting memories. We will be back!

Posted by: Vickie on June 21, 2005 9:04 PM
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