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Cyrus Alternatives

Some advice is sorely needed:

My family (a party of 7) is planning a trip to Guerneville. While there, we were hoping to finally make it to Cyrus. Most of my relatives haven't ever experienced a French tasting menu, so I thought we'd do it right the first time.

I called for a reservation and was told we had two alternatives: book the private room and be subject to a $2000 minimum, or split up into two completely separate parties. They didn't even have tables available at the same time, only half an hour apart (I think to really drive home the point that we wouldn't be sitting near each other and allowed to cross talk, which I understand).

Seeing as how the tasting menu is $120, a $2000 minimum is slightly unreasonable for us since half of us are non drinkers.

But since this is a family reunion and the first time for a lot of them to have a tasting menu, splitting up a table of 7 also seems like a crying shame.

I'm planning to call and talk to the manager and see if he/she'll make an exception just this once. Their largest table is for a party of 6; but since it's a Thursday night maybe it won't be impossible?

Alternatively, what other places in the area are really worth going to? Ambiance and food are equally important. I kind of need a "wow" restaurant, even if it's not a tasting menu kind of place. It can't just be dinner in the country; it has to wow. TIA!

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  1. You'll have to excuse me, but I seriously think a high-end tasting menu is the wrong venue for a tasting menu of that caliber. Folks are going to be into catching up with each other more than what is being served and for a reunion. I would think everyone is going to be concentrating on each other instead of what they are eating.

    I'd go with something more traditional that will still wow; General's Daughter in Sonoma is a good choice.

    1. I loved Cyrus but it is unfortunate that they are not willing to accomodate you. I agree with Carrie, but I have a feeling that you know your family better than she does. So if it is this kind of menu, look at Meadowood. It is over the hills in St. Helena but it is almost as good and has a tasting menu. The service I had there was impeccable. I highly recommend it. If you are willing to step down a notch more, try Syrah in Santa Rosa. Very good food with a very laid back atmosphere. I think it's the perfect kind of place for a reunion event.

      1. If you want to stay close to guerneville, have you tried Farmhouse Inn? Look at their menu online. They do not do a tasting menu, but have a very refined menu, fabulous wine list and gorgeous views...

        1. I haven't eaten at Cyrus yet, but wish you luck - I hope to hear that Cyrus could accommodate a party of 7, which doesn't seem unreasonable! But if not, I definitely second ljero's recommendation of Farmhouse Inn. I've eaten there several times, and it has always been a real "wow" restaurant for me. It is lovely and charming in every way.

          1 Reply
          1. Not sure if you'll make the trek over to the Napa side, but sharing plates at Ad Hoc might be a good idea for family reunion. Although, it might beat the purpose of a full blown tasting menu. If the tasting menu is the main objective, Redd might be another option.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Problem Child

              I like both of those, but wouldn't consider either the "wow" kind of resto the OP wants.

            2. Have you considered Ubuntu? They have a great tasting menu, and it would be something totally different, in the French style, sans meat of course.

              1. Don't expect a French tasting menu at Cyrus... its definitely more California than French.

                1. It isn't "wow" in the fancy-room-and-hovering-service sense, but Zazu in Santa Rosa definitely wows me. They call it a "roadhouse" atmosphere -- friendly, somewhat casual, but the service is terrific. Even more important, though, the food is exquisite -- with seasonal menus created around their own garden's produce, homemade charcuterie, and other right-from-the-farm ingredients. Flavors pure, textures perfect.... I do love that place.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: jane

                    Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

                    We're definitely considering Ad Hoc.

                    Farmhouse Inn told me their biggest table barely accomodates six chairs, and their room only has 14 tables anyway.

                    I went back and forth on the fancy meal issue as well--it's definitely a great point. But as it won't be our first or last meal during vacation I thought a tasting menu would be fine. There'll be plenty of time to catch up over noisy meals!

                    1. re: Pei

                      If you are willing to go to the Napa side of things, I will say once again Meadowood is great. It just got 2 Michelin Stars and they have a great tasting menu in a very nice atmosphere with some of the best service I've ever had. They have a new chef and he seems to be doing great things with that place.

                      1. re: Cookanddog

                        But Meadowood is a huge haul from Guerneville. The resto did get 2 Michelin stars, but not from their current chef. The current chef won 2 Michelin stars at his last resto, though.

                        It's a beautiful tasting menu there. About 4 courses for $125, but once again, an hour drive if not more from Guerneville. Ad Hoc about 1-1/2 hours from Guerneville, and Ubuntu is another 20 minutes more.

                        I would re-try Cyrus and Farmhouse, and if neither work out, then re-think your strategy.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          Just today, Meadowood received a very favorable review in the San Francisco Chronicle:

                      2. re: Pei

                        Other fun places for a group: Ravenous, as you could get the big "communal" table in the front that seats 8, I think. it is not haute cuisine, by any counts, but it is a funky, coverted old home into a restaurant, with the world's juiciest burger, cooked perfectly, and also serves up other home cuisine, and the menu changes weekly. We really enjoyed it (and are pretty darn picky).!

                        1. re: ljero

                          Ravenous is a great place for a group: Great food, great wine list, amazing atmosphere, and they have tables that can fit up to 12.

                          But if you are looking for an alternative to Cyrus in Healdsburg I would go for either the Dry Creek Kitchen or Barn Diva, both have expectational food and I know they can accommodate 7 easily.

                          1. re: Shana Ray

                            Dry Creek Kitchen went into a precipitous slide down a few years and has never recovered. Are you saying it has? Have you dined there in the last 6 months?

                            Ravenous is great for a casual dinner, but not on the level the OP specifies.

                    2. Totally out of left field, but what about Cafe St. Rose? By most accounts, the chef is extremely talented, and while he doesn't do a tasting menu, I'm sure he'd do something interesting given a budget, number of people, and advanced notice. The restaurant moved from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol and reopened just recently.

                      Cafe Saint Rose
                      9890 Bodega Hwy, Sebastopol, CA 95472

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: SteveG

                        I just drove by it a few days ago... the location is beautiful at night.... talk about sophisticated Road House... small enough that they can probably do a buy out... and get a custom evening.

                        1. re: SteveG

                          Oh I love Cafe Saint Rose! When we lived in Guerneville we would go there for lunch quite often when it was located in Santa Rosa. I am happy to see that they have moved to that location in Sebastopol. It is a beautiful spot right on Bodega Hwy. Mark is an awesome chef. I am so missing his cooking as I write this. Make sure you get some of his bbq if he has that on the menu.

                          I so wish him well in his new locale.

                        2. I have not visited any of these so I don't even know if they are the style or atmosphere you are looking for but I have read good things on this board about Bistro Ralph, Zin and now the new Healdsburg Bar and Grill (which is by the Cyrus people).

                          Other's who are familiar with the area can elaborate more but I thought I would add those names to your mix for the research.

                          Alternatively, If you decide to head to Sonoma, I love The Girl and the Fig. Or....from where you are in Guernville, you might even be closer to Calistoga than downtown Napa and there a bunch of good options there.

                          Good luck.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: MSK

                            If you want to go as far south as Santa Rosa, we really like Syrah. Not at the level (I assume) as Cyrus, but they will do a tasting menu for you and they have a great wine list and great service.