HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >

03/08 Napa/ St.Helena; Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen- Consistently Delicious

opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2008 01:47 AM

I think I might be a Cindy groupie, all the way back to her first culinary empire ithat ncluded Fog City Diner and Beetlenut in SF. I just really like her aura . Yep, aura. Her restaurants are so attractive, inviting, comfortable, casual, filled with fun artwork.Her food is reasonably priced, her portions are generous. She focusses on fresh and seasonal and her foods are usually delicious. Her servers are smart, experienced, food-knowledgable, attentive and friendly.

This year our Top Fav. is still the Roasted Peppers filled with Shredded Beef , served in a pool of mole with toasted sliced almonds. Neck and neck with that dish is what my love has declared "the best chicken I have ever had in a restaurant!" Marinated in lime, cilantro etc., seared on sizzling cast iron, topped with another sizzling hot cast iron pan and finished in the oven; served with avocado topping............
Close behind is the Rabbit Tostada and the succulent amazing Chinese Duck Burger w/ Shiitakes and sweet sour glaze.

Her table bread is addictive. I can't explain it but it tastes to me like a sliced loaf version of a thick and crunchy- crusted Parker House roll. I know that's an oxymoron, but there it is.......

The Armagnac Prune Creme Brulee was perfect and the next best thing to the ice cream version of the same.

One Horrifying Fact: right now, her fries are frozen ,because "local potatoes don't
currently (March) have the proper starch content to make good fries. "(per our waiter) Huhhhh???!!!

All in all, two great big grins, and Hoorah Cindy!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. m
    Mick Ruthven RE: opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2008 07:04 PM

    >I think I might be a Cindy groupie, all the way back to her first culinary empire that included Fog City Diner and Beetlenut in SF.<

    When did she get out of Beetlenut? I liked that place until a year ago when I took friends there and it (the food) was a shadow of its former self.

    6 Replies
    1. re: Mick Ruthven
      opinionatedchef RE: Mick Ruthven Mar 31, 2008 07:17 PM

      ooooh, try again. we had perfect food there the other night. i will post on it later. they said they had a new chef recently; all is great. cindy's been out of that sf empire a very long time i believe.

      1. re: opinionatedchef
        Mick Ruthven RE: opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2008 07:31 PM

        Thanks for the heads up on Beetlenut! I always thought it was both fun and very good food, and it's good to know the good food is back.

        1. re: Mick Ruthven
          adrienne156 RE: Mick Ruthven Apr 1, 2008 04:39 PM

          I'm confused, where is Beetlenut? Do you mean Betelnut over in the Marina?

          1. re: adrienne156
            Mick Ruthven RE: adrienne156 Apr 2, 2008 10:26 AM

            Oops, yes, I meant Betelnut on Union Street. I'm now wondering if opinionatedchef meant the same (which I assumed) or meant another place really called Beetlenut

      2. re: Mick Ruthven
        Robert Lauriston RE: Mick Ruthven Apr 1, 2008 05:42 PM

        Cindy Pawlcyn left the Real Restaurants group a few years ago. She owns Mustards and Cindy's Backstreet, I think that's it.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston
          opinionatedchef RE: Robert Lauriston Apr 1, 2008 11:10 PM

          yes betelnut on union.

          cindy's new restnt is Go Fish,in the napa valley.

      3. d
        DavidT RE: opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2008 07:46 PM

        My wife & I had a most pleasant lunch at Cindy's in St. Helena a week ago Saturday. It is was very nice place and the food was quite good. I would not say it is a destination dining spot, but it is certainly worth a stop if you are in that part of Napa Valley.

        1. rworange RE: opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2008 07:57 PM


          Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen
          1327 Railroad Ave., St. Helena, CA 94574

          Show Hidden Posts