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Fodor's Northern California 2014
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The name sounds strictly down-home, but this place looks and feels big city. Just across the threshold is a full bar stocked with the best bottles—and plenty of people to appreciate them. A view into the kitchen with a line of tables opposite comes next, and then the dining room furnished with roomy banquettes, dim light, and a chatty crowd. Chef-co-owner Phil West's compact, changing menu is a nice mix of high-end and homey, with chicken liver mousse or egg pasta with smoked trumpet mushrooms sharing space with California rainbow trout with German butterball potatoes and sautéed puntarelle. On the sweeter side, you'll find some excellent seasonal desserts, plus a bittersweet chocolate soufflé with prune-walnut ice cream. For the more ascetic, there are buckwheat crepes with huckleberries and chicory ice cream. Service is smooth—informative but not gushy—in both the dining room and the bar. Adventurous cocktail drinkers will want to dip into the specialty drinks menu before dinner—and maybe after as well.
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