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Meal Report - Cyrus [Healdsburg]

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Been a long time reader/lurker here, but only 2nd time posting. Wanted to share an update on Cyrus which gets a decent amount of posts here.

I've been going to Cyrus for a long time, probably 4 years now, maybe a total of 6-7 times? They've always been fairly consistent, but the recent trip there freshly blew me away, enough that I feel compelled to write about it.

They've updated their menu with a few new creations, all of which I absolutely loved, so I'll focus on the new stuff.

First, the bartender. Erika made such fantastic cocktail creations that when she left (about 6 months ago?) we were really bummed, and took to the new barman with suspicion. Adam completely won us over with his Brown Butter infused whiskey with maple syrup, balsamic and white verjus. He told us he literally browned a pound of butter to blend with a bottle of whiskey, froze it overnight and punched a hole in the butter to pour out the whiskey. The butter fragrance somehow worked very well with the smokey whiskey.

Cyrus always makes their own bread selections. This time there was a sesame pretzel roll that I couldn't stop eating: nutty, flaky like a croissant but not greasy, with a bit of heartiness like a pretzel.

Foie gra & cherry blossom parfait, barley pops, sea beans and shiso: a new preparation of foie gras I've never seen. I'm not a fan of the liver, but this was so beautiful to behold and so well balanced on the palate I have to give it a recommendation. See my pictures below.

The wild seabass deserves a mention too in its simple perfection, super fresh, delicious and perfectly cooked, it doesn't really need much else. The pairing of lemon verbena beurre blanc with chinese pea shoots was surprisingly good, and I'm quite partial to the pea shoots when done right.

Sonoma duck with Kujo Negi, myoga, aged bamboo rice and ponzu, served on a rustic wooden cutting board with your own spice-rimmed japanese knife. My favorite of the evening, first because the presentation was such a departure from the high end china they normally use, but fitting to the Zen-like preparation of the best duck I've ever eaten. I could have been sitting on the grounds of an ancient Japanese temple, eating rice aged by wizen monks and duck from a sacred pond (ok don't laugh at my weird imagery).

The last thing I'll mention is the other new dish: "Lamb hotpot", fava, bamboo, yuzu butter, umeshu consomme. Again, beautiful presentation, innovative eating experience, and so to-die-for delicious. Mr. Keane's consomme's are amongst the very best things in life, I believe, and this pairing with super tender spring lamb slices was simply genius.

Check out my dining experience as a "Naaly experience", something I found to be very good for showing eating trips; I can note down the oh-so-important details of every dish before I forget. (It's a free app for any android smartphone).

http://www.naaly.com/exp_view/1582/

Cyrus was just nominated for the James Beard award for Outstanding Service, and absolutely deservingly so. In my opinion, they are heads above the 3-stars like FL and Meadowwood (I've been to all multiple times), but I am also glad they don't get the "hording" that comes with a 3-star. I'll be continuing to patronize them in their humble, 2-star obscurity :).

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  1. Thanks for your report. Sad to hear that the lady barkeep is gone . . . I would have reacted the same way to the replacement and you've saved me the angst. The browned butter whiskey sounds beyond amazing.

    1. Biteclub reported today that the Scopa II project has been named Campo Fina, and mentions that Erika Frey, our favorite barkeep at Cyrus will be developing summer wine cocktails there.
      http://www.biteclubeats.com/2012/05/s...