Pin It
favorite

First Bite 

The Vineyards Inn



Editor's note: First Bite is a new concept in restaurant writing. This is not a go-three-times, try-everything-on-the-menu report; rather, this is a quick snapshot of a single experience. We invite you to come along with our writers as they—informed, intelligent eaters like yourselves—have a simple meal at an area restaurant, just like you do.

Housed in a comfortable roadhouse along Highway 12, the Vineyards Inn offers meals in its rustic dining room, fireside at the bar or on the grapevine-covered patio in warmer weather. But diners will have more decisions to make than where to sit; the menu is huge and ranges from raw ahi poki to pasta to pot stickers to enchiladas. Once a Mexican restaurant, the Vineyards Inn retains some Mexican dishes but now bills itself as a bar and grill with "flavors of Spain." It also, the menu assures, tries to be "as green as possible and raise most of our (certified organic) vegetables."

We settled at a table in the warm patio and ordered the house margarita with Sauza Silver ($7), blended, no salt. It was perfectly balanced between sweet and tart. A glass of house red, the restaurant's own organically grown and produced Slanted Bench Primativo Zinfandel ($4.50) was disappointingly acidic.

Wary of the overwhelming variety of choices, we settled on sharing a meal of tapas, chef Esteban's specialty. We started with the recommended ceviche ($11), and were wowed by the super-fresh albacore and black cod diced with home-grown pico de gallo salsa and avocados on a crispy tortilla. Warm stuffed artichoke crowns ($14) filled with Dungeness crab, bay shrimp, green onions and grated Spring Hill organic dry jack had a nice mix of flavors, but the fire shrimp ($9), two six-shrimp skewers, were dry and only mildly spicy.

I bravely ordered the Basque crispy chicken liver salad ($11), thinking that it would feature small crispy pieces of meat, but the pieces were too large to get a crisp bite. Served on romaine with Rose Ranch basil vinaigrette, something more than salad was needed to balance the overpowering liver taste, so I paired it with bites of delicious, fresh red onion rings ($6), battered and flash-fried to a non-oily crispness. Chorizo bocadillo ($8) was made with tasty, grilled homemade Spanish sausage on fresh baguette slices, with diced tomato and a dab of aioli.

We finished the meal with a piece of cheesecake ($6) in a German graham cracker crust, but missed the promised garnish of organic Kenwood strawberry sauce. No fresh fruit was available except oranges, so we opted for a drizzle of chocolate sauce, which was a good choice, as the cheesecake was as dry as billed.

 

With a menu as vast and varied as the Vineyard Inn's, another visit—or three—is in order.

The Vineyards Inn Bar & Grill, 8445 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday–Monday. 707.833.4500.







View All

Quick-and-dirty dashes through North Bay restaurants. These aren't your standard "bring five friends and order everything on the menu" dining reviews.



Pin It
favorite

Latest in Restaurants

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Suzanne Daly

Find It

Boho Beat

Dec. 1: Free Space in Yountville

Dec. 2: Hot Winter Night in Sebastopol

Dec. 3: Bookish Birthday in Corte Madera

More »

Facebook Activity

Most Commented

Twitter

Read more @nbaybohemian

Copyright © 2016 Metro Newspapers. All rights reserved.

Website powered by Foundation