Cyrus vs. Farmhouse
Hello! I'm an NYC hounder and will be in northern cali for a wedding in a couple weeks. I am currently holding reservations at Cyrus as well as Farmhouse for a nice dinner out with some other foodie friends. I've heard great things about both but would be curious to hear any perspective this group has. Money isn't much of a consideration for us as this will be something of a special occasion. Any strong opinions one way or another?
Two of us will be staying in Healdsburg that night, the other will be coming in from Santa Rosa. Thanks in advance!
Wow, that is a tough one. I think you will have a great food experience at both places. In terms of menu, they both focus on local, seasonal, fresh ingredients and, service-wise, both are pretty great. (Note, I've dined at Cyrus several times but at the Farmhouse only once.) I think the main difference is in atmosphere. Cyrus is a little more formal (but still feels low key compared similar NYC experiences.) I love how totally cosseted you feel there, and also the Champagne cart kicks the evening off on the right note and lends an instantly celebratory feel to the evening.
At the Farmhouse you will get more of a rural feeling, it's a bit like similar restaurants in France - one chef/owner, a destination out in the vineyards...(By the way I suggest taking the back road there from Healdsburg, via Westside Road - it's a beautiful drive - then River Road to 101 home (after the wine!))
If I were in your shoes, I'd probably pick Cyrus, but just because two of you are staying in Healdsburg, and it is heaven to walk back to a hotel after a meal like that on a cool Sonoma night, and not have to worry about driving. Also, if you like nouveau-ish cocktails (or just really well-made old fashioned drinks) their intimate little bar area is definitely worth a stop - still at the cutting edge of seasonal mixology trends (even tho' their founding bartender, Scott Beattie, has moved on....)
Both restaurants are great, we had a delicious meal at The Farmhouse this week. Refined and relaxed dining at its best. Just some short notes on what we had as everyone was conversing and having a good time.
Apps were lobster and shrimp salad with a vanilla bean accent, scallop and pork belly combination and organic greens salad with grilled mission figs, pancetta and Humboldt fog cheve. Varied starters that show intense but balanced flavors.
Entrees were rabbit three ways which is their signature dish, pork rib chop and a couple of halibut dishes. All were excellent.
We shared three desserts, chocolate souffle, butter toffee nut gelato and a apple terrine with butter pecan ice cream.
Washed the meal down with some great wines including a 1984 Ridge Montebello.
The Farmhouse is a great dining experience, not inexpensive but a place to celebrate every so often.
Original, it was a seared scallop over a braised pork belly sauteed with foraged mushrooms. I only had a small taste and it was fantastic.
The 84 Montebello was a treat. We brought it and it was sublime. Lush fruit and still some tannins to resolve. Will likely improve for another 5-10 years.
overall, Cyrus seemed to have a wider range of foods on its menu, and a little more originality in the preparations. Farmhouse seemed more restrained and conventional, a generic, expensive cali-continental style one can find in many places. It's unlikely we'd return to Farmhouse, but might consider Cyrus for a splurge.