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Santa Rosa: special dinner for 12-15. Syrah?

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I'm starting to plan a dinner out to celebrate my parents' 60th anniversary in November. Maybe 12 or 15 people. Some older teens but no small kids. I don't think they'd want to drive too far from Santa Rosa, and I thought that a tasting menu for the table would be the most special and celebratory kind of dinner.

Cyrus is within a reasonable driving distance, but I read (I haven't been there) that they have a back room for 12 and that's it.

I think Syrah would do a good job with serving a tasting menu to a group that size. We'd probably be out in the mall though, I suspect.

I don't know of anyplace else, do you? A half-hour drive would probably be the limit. I know my parents love the Farmhouse Inn, but they don't deal with groups over 6, and splitting up would defeat the purpose. I also have to remember that views and scenery take second place to indoor ambience in November.

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  1. We had a family reunion dinner for more than 60 people at Sante in Geyserville. Would that be too far? Food was great.

    1 Reply
    1. re: 512window

      I've had a few dinners for 10 to 12 people at Santi. The room with the fireplace is warm and inviting in the fall/winter.

    2. go to cyrus absolutely fabulous way to celebrate an anniversary

      1. OK, these are only ideas for joints that having facilities that accomodate groups that size. Someone else would have to comment on the food being any good.

        Dry Creek Kitchen has a tasting menu
        http://www.charliepalmer.com/dry_cree...

        Madrona Manor has a tasting menu and accomodates groups.
        http://www.madronamanor.com/restauran...

        No tasting menu, and probably not special enough but Kenwood has a room that seats up to 50

        1 Reply
        1. re: rworange

          Thanks-- rworange, the Madrona Manor is certainly a beautiful spot. I'd be really eager to find some opinions of the food. With Cyrus, socofoodie, besides the space in the back room I'm worried about the ambience. The photo made it look like a shoebox.

          I was under the impression that Dry Creek Kitchen had been getting panned lately.

          I just read a new idea-- Restaurant Eloise just opened in Sebastopol, it sounds great. They don't have a tasting menu, but maybe they'd do a group thing.

          Ooh, this is an excuse to go do some research.

        2. Zazu seems to do a huge business in largish groups, so I'd imagine you wouldn't have any problems booking the event there. I know there was one recent unhappy review, but I've always been happy there, and had a great meal there last week.

          1. Has anyone been to Equus lately? A few years ago I attended a dinner in the wine cellar room and loved the setting. Mark Dierkhising was the chef then, now owner of Parkside.

            Cavonnier Room
            http://www.fountaingroveinn.com/me_me...

            1. Well, I can report that Cyrus does not take groups over 12, and my group has grown to 16. Madrona Manor does, and Syrah does. At least I can cross Cyrus off my list for this occasion.

              1. Just to follow up, Syrus turned out to be the best choice logistically, and it also worked out very well. It was a bit echoing in the outer courtyard area, but on the other hand since we had chairs, no bench seats, and were somewhat off to ourselves, we could walk around and talk between courses, we weren't stuck in our seats. The food was very good, and they did a good job dealing with the group. Everybody was very happy with the evening.

                5 Replies
                1. re: wearybashful

                  Glad Syrah worked out for you, though it looks like you still had "Cyrus" on the brain. (g)

                  Did you have a set menu/tasting menu?

                  I did an event there 5 years ago in the courtyard area that went very smoothly.

                  March 2003 post -
                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/23398

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                  Syrah - Now Petite Syrah
                  205 Fifth Street, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Melanie, My husband and I went to Cyrus for our anniversary the week before, so we could satisfy that itch.

                    I actually posted here asking for advice on whether to do a tasting menu, and I got a huge response of people saying "NO! Not if it's family!" And they were right. You have to have a group like the one in your post who is there because they're interested in food and wine.

                    1. re: wearybashful

                      So are you saying you ordered a tasting menu for the group and it wasn't well-received despite the quality of the preps? Sorry to hear that.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        Melanie, no, sorry I wasn't clear. I followed the advice I got and did not attempt the tasting menu. We ordered off the regular menu and it worked out fine, everybody was happyl

                        1. re: wearybashful

                          Thanks for the clarification, glad I asked, and even gladder that everyone was happy!

                2. We had a wonderful experience at Willi's Wine Bar on Redwood Hwy:

                  http://www.williswinebar.net/

                  Fun, interesting menu and I would assume a good atmosphere for a group.

                  1. Here's the link

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                    Willi's Wine Bar
                    4404 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95403