Michael Warring-great new restaurant in Vallejo
I’ve been wanting to recommend this place all summer but I’ve been really busy. It’s a relatively new restaurant in Vallejo. It’s a California cuisine flavored restaurant in Vallejo, kind of in the same vein as Commis. It’s a fix price menu at a reasonable price (when we went I think it was about $50 per person. Vallejo is s pretty bleak culinary destination and it’s nice to have a decent restaurant here. We went about a month ago and had a very enjoyable meal. We hope to go back soon. Will write a review the next time I go.
Just had dinner there tonight for our anniversary and I recommend it highly. It's in the Hiddenbrooke area and completely unexpected for a food desert like Vallejo.
Our dinners were $59 each plus a $30 wine pairing. The place is very small - a bar and about 6 tables. It's just Michael and a server (his wife?) and very intimate and friendly. Let me see if I can remember the menu...
* Pickled carrot puree with Champagne saboyon with fresh greens and mesquite smoke
* Raw yellowfin with house-cured salmon roe. (Excellent)
* Pasta with truffles and slow-cooked egg (Phenomenal but very rich)
* Beef (not sure of the cut - perhaps skirt steak) Perfectly cooked
* Cinnamon donut with salted caramel sauce. Excellent.
* A cup of the best coffee I've ever had, from a local roaster.
The wine pairings were good - a couple were excellent, a couple were not quite on, but overall they were good choices.
Presentation was beautiful and the service was perfect.
This is a "special occasion" place that we will definitely come back to.
Glad you enjoyed it. The server is his wife. She is super nice and down to earth.
We have been back a few times this year and the quality has been pretty consistently high. We have had similar menus to the one you tried. The raw seafood apps are always stellar as are the slow cooked egg and beef dishes. Last time we went it was really good, I was going to post a review but time got away from me. Some of the desserts here are really phenomenal.
re: Melanie Wong
Gladly....although I'm torn between wanting to promote this lovely place and encourage others to enjoy it and wanting to keep it enough of a secret that we can continue to get a table! :-)
They have a single 5-course menu (for $59) that changes a lot each week, and within each week has a few daily changes. So every visit is unique unless you go more than once a week. The menu is a salad or vegetable, followed by fish, then pasta or risotto or something a little heavier, then the main and dessert.
Saturday's menu, IIRC, was
- Puree of delicata squash dusted with ground coffee and other spices, the combination of which tasted like dark/bitter chocolate, along with greens and an adorable miniature breakfast radish. Other times we've had smoked greens or an interesting fruit sorbet.
- Hamachi with milk panna cotta, salmon roe, and toasted sushi rice. They do the raw fish-panna cotta combination fairly often. The first time I saw it on the menu I just shook my head. The combination of raw fish and panna cotta sounded like a disaster, but when I tasted it all together it was amazing. I have fallen in love with this combo.
- Roasted bone marrow with shaved Perigod truffle and warm brioche. Soooo rich and delicious!
- Beef terres major, cooked sous vide maybe?, then topped with a few collards, fennel pollen and some sort of demi glace. I'd never heard of terres major until MW, and have had it a couple of times there. It's lean and tender, and expertly prepared.
- Olive oil cake with chocolate ice cream. This was my least favorite dish this time. It was great, but normally their desserts are stellar. Their warm brioche doughnut is to die for.
The portions seem small when they come out, but the entire meal is very filling (especially when bone marrow is one of the courses!). They don't serve bread, unless it's part of a dish. That's the only thing I wish they would change, and only because the sauces are all so damn intense that I hate leaving even one drop on the plate. Having something to wipe them up with --besides our fingers, which we have refrained from using so far-- would be nice.
Wine pairing is $39 for 4 pours: one for each of the savory courses. We pretty much always get this, because they use different, interesting wines that we don't often see elsewhere.
The space is small (maybe 15-20 seats, 7 at the counter, the rest at tables) and quiet (unless there's a larger group taking up half the space, which does happen sometimes). There's not much in the way of decor; the thing to watch is Michael cooking and his partner Ali helping plate and then doing all the serving. Service (= Ali!) is warm, kind, knowledgeable and efficient, but since it's just the 2 of them working, there's not much time for her to chit chat, unless it's slow or at the beginning or end of service. But both Michael and Ali are very generous with their time whenever they can be, happily answering questions about ingredients, preparation methods, inspiration, etc.
All in all, it's a wonderfully positive and unique dining experience, where you get to watch a couple who are obviously talented and intensely passionate about good food as they carefully and lovingly prepare your (and everyone else's) food and then turn around and set it in front of you.
We went back to MW last night with friends and had an astonishingly great meal. There is always a multiple course fixed price menu here. Thursday night was $59 per person. Here is what we ate:
beer & cheese velouté
sabayon, dill pollen, mesquite
This was served in a jar with mesquite smoke. The velouté was deeply flavored but not heavy. The smoke added an interesting layer of flavor to the dish.
trout roe, meyer lemon curd, satsuma mandarin air
The Kampachi was extremely fresh and paired well with the trout roe and seasonings.
pork belly snow, black truffle jus
This was amazing. I have had so many pasta dishes flavored with truffle that are just meh. In this dish the truffle flavor was seamlessly integrated and perfectly complimented the rich umami flavors from the pork. The pasta was perfectly cooked and pork belly tender and delicious. One of the top 10 tastiest things I have eaten all year.
italian sweet pepper, aerated persimmon, black trumpet mushroom, radish
Often the flavor of wild mushrooms gets lost in a dish. But the chef really brought out the rich earthy flavor of the black trumpets which paired perfectly with The duck tender duck and persimmon purée. I don't remember ever eating a dish where the flavor of mushrooms was so well showcased.
vanilla ice cream, cinnamon sugar brioche crumbs, salted caramel, dark chocolate
Have to admit I was skeptical. I am picky about desserts and have been disappointed with dense cloying marshmallow desserts at other restaurants. But this dish was spot on. The marshmallow was a long thin rectangular piece that was toasted. The inside was soft. It captured the best aspects of marshmallows toasted by the campfire. Near the center of the plate was the ice cream which complimented the dish and cinnamon which added an warm flavor.
This place is truly a hidden gem. I highly recommend it. Worth a drive to Vallejo. I guarantee. They mentioned they are doing a New Years dinner.