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Mar 10, 2008 11:18 PM

Cyrus: insufferable (but tasty)

I wasn't planning on leaving Healdsburg without at least a taste of Cyrus. I didn't have a reservation, but I was told the two of us could probably find a place at the bar, and the charming, attentive maitre d' made it happen.

And then things turned.

We were seated at the bar. After a while, the bartender asked us if we would like a drink. We said we would, and that we would be eating there. And then he started talking with some friends a few seats down the bar.

Well, to make a long experience short, we were ignored, condescended to, rushed, and ignored again, all the while forced to overhear the bartender's pretentious (and occasionally incorrect) opinions of wine along with declamations of his own martyred life. (Meanwhile, for all his complaints of being put upon, other servers in the restaurant seemed to be doing twice the work with half the noise.) It was the kind of evening you'd expect at a dive bar. But at least you'd be drinking. (We couldn't seem to get wine until around the third course.)

The food was good, occasionally great, presented with the chef's delicate, colorful plating. My first course, a green garlic and potato soup with a clump of extraordinary goat cheese and a perfect poached egg in the middle, was magnificent. My second course, a coil of pappardelle next to shreds of braised rabbit with little side dollop of cabbage was quite good. The scallops were on some tasty lentils, served with some cacophonous accompanying flavors -- uni, olive and orange. Duck-three-ways scored two out of three.

All in all, some lovely flavors, some worthy but not completely successful experiments, some streaks of brilliance, and a truly awful night.

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  1. Ya know, this isn't the first report of awkward/bizarre service in the bar area. I have no idea if this behavior is that of Cocktail God Scott Beattie. I would be very sad if this is the case. The cocktails are fantastic... lackluster bar service is inexcusable. Particularly if it's coming from someone with that much talent at what they do. If it ISN'T him, then I think he needs to examine his bar staff.

    I absolutely love Cyrus - I've had a number of stellar meals there, though I've never sat at the bar. I honestly can't sing enough praises for this place. Should you return, please (PLEASE) do yourself a favor and make a reservation for the dining room. You deserve to experience the best this place can produce. After many high end Bay Area dining experiences, this place still holds the top rung in my book.

    1. THE jane ... and you didn't link to places?

      Cyrus Restaurant
      29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448

      1 Reply
      1. re: rworange

        Thanks, rworange! Shame on me!

      2. Take everything you've written here, add your contact info, and fax it to Nick Peyton at

        1. I'm so sorry about your evening, jane! I had the same food experience, but our table of four had just about the best service ever: professional, timely, friendly but not familiar (far better than FL, CP, Manresa, etc).