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Cheeseburger at the “Boot” in Healdsburg

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Melanie Wong Aug 17, 2003 04:10 PM

I’d ignored the “Boot” for a long time, writing it off as a redneck joint. Yet from time to time, I’d hear someone mention that it was a good business lunch spot with warm and quick service or how surprisingly good the steaks were here. It also appeared on the Cheeseburger in Paradise site that has steered me to some other good burgers. So, the next time I was indecisive about where to eat in town, I stopped in and was pleased to find a family-oriented restaurant with something for everyone.

Offered a choice of tables, I picked a booth, marked with a plaque, “Derna’s Booth”. The dark-wooded interior has the look of an establishment that’s older than its 20-years. Lots of wagon wheels, horseshoes, saddles, cowboy memorabilia, and boots galore, plus the wooden table tops are marked with the “Boot” brand. Real flowers – Peruvian lilies – in bud vases on each table were a nice touch.

As might be expected, the menu is devoted to ranch-style steaks of every size and shape, plus ribs, seafood, chicken and pasta. One of the house specialties is a grilled prime rib cut. There are also a few frou-frou appetizers, such as black bean cakes or smoked duck breast with arugula, sundried apricots and toasted almonds (!), that indicate a chef trying to break out of the mold. The specials of the day were teriyaki riblets and a thick cut pork chop. A basket of spongey bread, dish of mild salsa, and a carafe of ice water were brought to the table automatically while I looked at the menu.

Feeling conservative and not that hungry, I ordered a small cheeseburger with cheddar (jack, American and blue also available), medium-rare, with onion rings as an upgrade for fries, $8.95. On first impression the burger looked small, only about 4” in diameter, but the hand-formed beef patty was nearly an inch thick. It was done to a perfect, juicy, medium-rare with a nice crust and plenty of smoky, charred flavor of the grill. The quality of the beef was so good, I didn’t add any ketchup or other condiments, just enjoying it with the melted California cheddar, thin slices of red onion, tomato and green leaf lettuce. Very impressive. The beer-battered onion rings were decent, and I appreciated the half cob of sweet white corn on the side. I didn’t have time for the desserts, which are housemade, but I’m sure I’ll be back to try them and more. There's good straight forward food and service here at reasonable prices.

Western Boot Steak House
http://sonoma.unclewebster.com/lc/bus/911/index.shtml
9 Mitchell Lane
Healdsburg
707-433-6362

Link: http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/03.23.00/best-localfood-critic-0012.html

Image: http://sonoma.unclewebster.com/images...