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The Standard Bearer 

Amid the changing landscape of Sebastopol, K&L Bistro remains a go-to destination

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The aforementioned roasted bone marrow ($8.50) scores as well. The simplicity of K&L's rosemary-perfumed version spooned onto more grilled bread with a pinch of sea salt makes theirs the standard bearer. The springy fava bean, radish and farro salad ($9.50) with frisée and Valley Ford cheese could use a shot of lemon juice or vinegar to fully bring it to life, though still it makes for another great opener, as does the simple County Line farm salad ($9).

Any good bistro needs a good bistro burger, and K&L hits the mark with theirs ($13.50), a plumb, flavorful burger made with Meyer antibiotic-free beef grilled over a mesquite fire and topped with a well-toasted bun. The house-made mustards on the side are a nice touch as well.

The sole meuniere ($23) is a textbook version, with lightly browned, sweet fish and a simple lemon and butter sauce. The french fries on the side are as crispy and steamy-moist inside as anyone could want. The thin, well-breaded chicken piccata ($23.50) swam in a bit too much browned butter, but it was still delicious, if currently unfashionable. The peashoot and radish salad served alongside it lightened up the main course.

The only entrée that left me flat was the braised sea bass ($24.50) served with artichokes, potatoes, fava beans and cherry tomatoes. The fish and vegetables were fresh and flavorful, but they didn't add up to more than sum of their parts. It was boring.

K&L offers a changing list of housemade desserts. My favorite is the chocolate and butterscotch pudding ($8). When was the last time you had butterscotch? It's time to have it again.

The wine list offers some decent wines by the glass, but given the restaurant's location in the center of the North Bay wine country, I would have expected to find a broader and more eclectic local selection. Service is prompt without being hurried—professional but friendly enough for a neighborhood bistro.

If Sebastopol is, in fact, on pace to be changed forever by the Barlow, K&L Bistro is ready.

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