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Backyard in Forestville

It's open. The name comes from seasonal and sustainable sourcing from Sonoma County's backyard. Heard from a friend today that the chicken and waffle brunch is great.

Anyone tried it yet?

6566 Front Street
Forrestville, CA

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  1. We are out in that neighborhood in a couple of weeks, Have Backyard and a couple other new places in Sonoma County on our "to try" list :)

    Will give updates as we try them.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tom246

      Hey there, thought you might have already come and gone after crush. Backyard took over the spot where Sarah's Forestville Kitchen had been. And I should be posting about the new places I've tried.

    2. Two weeks ago I joined some friends here for brunch. I had corned beef hash in mind, but was not unhappy to find it had been replaced on the menu this day by wild boar confit hash. Apparently this was a by-product of the forage dinner held here the week before. The day’s menu:

      With five of us at the table, our server recognized an upsell opportunity and convinced us to start off with the bucket o’ donuts. Luckily we went along with the recommendation. Cake-like beignets (six to an order) dusted with cinnamon sugar fried to order were fantastic served with housemade Meyer lemon marmalade.

      Coffee’s from the roaster down the street. French press for them,
      and cappuccino for me. Not a good pull, too bitter in the finish, and this won’t win any beauty contests.

      Who has salad for breakfast? Well, I would if they’re all as pretty and more importantly, as delicious as this one. Jewel-toned roasted beets and blood oranges, delicate lettuces, toasted walnuts, and a light and snappy Straus yogurt vinaigrette.

      Other than the salad-eater, none of my friends offered up a taste. But here’s what their brunch plates looked like:

      Backyard Breakfast – two eggs scrambled, Nightingale sourdough toast, sausage patty (tempeh optional!), home fries

      Biscuit Benedict

      Biscuits and Gravy – springy side salad with lacy mustard green shoots was an unexpected touch

      Then the Pièce de résistance that I ordered,

      Wild Boar Hash – confit of wild boar shoulder, sunnyside up eggs, sourdough toast, butternut squash, foraged hedgehog mushrooms, braised young mustard greens, and pickled red onions. This had it all. The creamy sweetness of butternut, peppery mustard green bite, zippy onions, earthy mushrooms, and gamey richness of the meat made for a wondrous combination in the mouth.

      Arriving at 9:15A, I was the second customer of the day. By the time we left before 11:00A, Backyard was barely half-full on this busy event weekend in Russian River Valley. I thought about the breakfast seekers in San Francisco languishing for more than an hour in line for the morning meal. Made me wish I could tell them to stop wasting time on the sidewalk and to spend the hour driving up here instead.

      1. Has anyone been for dinner? Is it a nice alternative to Willow Wood Cafe or Underwood Bistro for dinner? TIA.

        1 Reply
        1. re: carolineinthecity

          I haven't been for dinner, but hope to soon. The friends who joined me there for this brunch had attended the forage dinner the week before. They said it was one of the finest meals they've had in this country. Since they're in the wine trade, they've been to quite a few fine dining venues.

        2. We finally made it over to Backyard last Friday for an early dinner. Pretty solid overall, everything was well prepared with a couple of standout dishes.

          Shared a couple of appetizers, Cheese plate: Nicasio Valley loma alta, Cowgirl Creamery St. Pat, wild lettuces, meyer lemon marmalade, spiced almonds. Cheeses paired really well with the lemon marmalade and spiced almonds.
          Also had a flatbread, First Light skordalia, Stemple Creek beef meatballs, Monkey Mountain arugula, Bohemian Creamery caproncino. This was a simple but tasty dish.
          Both apps were good sized portions.

          Entrees were True Grass Farm’s pork shoulder, Roots of Creation rapini, Mycopia king trumpet mushroom conserva, creamy polenta, young onion relish. This was good but the halibut was excellent. Wild, line caught, halibut, Armstrong carrot quinoa, wild spring onions, chive oil, wild watercress.

          There were some comments that the portions here are small, we did not experience that with apps, entrees or dessert. Speaking of dessert "Ron's Chocolate Budino" is awesome, chocolate mousse, salted caramel, Strauss sweet cream, toasted rice. Heaven in a bowl, texture of the mousse and amount of salted caramel is perfect.

          DW enjoyed a couple glasses of the Moshin RRV Pinot while I had a Boont amber ale. Service was friendly and helpful making for a relaxed dinner.
          Want to get back for the Wednesday fried chicken dinner as Chef Kedan is ex alum of Ad Hoc.

          Some pictures below.

          1 Reply
          1. re: tom246

            I was across the street at Canneti on Saturday myself . . . more later.

            Thanks for the pix, nice to see what dinner looks like. I wish I could pick up that other spoon and dig into your dessert!

            Yes, Chef Kedan and his wife have some serious chops. Pretty cool that a small bistro in a town that's essentially a wide spot in the road has this kind of talent.

          2. Stopped for lunch last week on our way through Forestville because the courtyard looked so inviting. Had the grilled cheese, sausage flatbread, and - oh, my- the onion rings (buttermilk in the batter!). Everything was excellent ! Had a great conversation with the chef. Will head back to Forestville on a future trip.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wandasue

              Oh yes, that patio would be just the ticket on a warm day (a rarity in Forestville). Nice to hear a lunch report . . . now we've covered all three meal times.

            2. Backyard's impressive kitchen skills also range to catering gigs. Last weekend I was a guest at a winery party. It grew from a smallish group of 30 to nearly 60 reservations just two days beforehand, and it was no problem for Backyard to expand.

              This was a taco bar buffet set up with vegan and gluten-free choices. Corn tortillas hechas a mano were made on the spot and served up hot and fresh. Backyard had no issue with using the beautiful lettuces from the host's garden and the tomatoes she'd put up last year to make one of the salsas.

              The braised short ribs seasoned with cumin was glorious on a hot tortilla. I didn't try the grilled chicken, and the grilled tempeh won a lot of praise.

              The Spanish rice and black beans were prepared vegan. The condiments and garnishes included a perky cabbage-red onion slaw dressed with lime, sliced radishes, stupendously hot grilled jalapeños, chopped cilantro and onion, spiced pickled red onions, lime wedges, queso fresco, crema, avocado-Meyer lemon salsa, spicy tomato salsa, and red and green chile hot sauces.

              Besides the host's wine, we had strawberry-lemon agua fresca and lemon water to keep us hydrated on this hot day.

              1. Stopped in for a lovely light dinner last night after swimming in the river. Friend & I shared the veggie antipasti platter & summer chicken pot pie & were very, very happy.

                Antipasti was served on a beautiful slice of tree:
                grilled plums, pickled egg, marinated cauliflower, a little cuke-radish-tomato salad on toast, Gravenstein-carrot slaw. All delicious.

                I was curious to know how a chicken pot pie, quintessentially cold weather food in my mind, could be summer-ized. Answer: very fresh green beans & carrots cooked to a still firm degree (softer veggies=winter?), exceptionally light biscuit topping, less density overall so the pieces of chicken & veggies had room to swim around in the gravy.

                My friend had a glass of the kombucha, which was a subtle, mild one to win over non-fans of kombucha like me.

                All the dishes served to surrounding tables looked beautiful. Will definitely make Backyard part of the regular river-swimming itinerary. (Takeout duck burgers from Hole in the Wall made scrumptious, if slightly heavy, choice for lunch by the river.)

                1 Reply
                1. re: indigirl

                  The kombucha served at Backyard is Revive, made here in Sonoma County. I keep a jug of it in the fridge. You can find it at some Whole Foods outside the county.

                2. Anyone tried the fried chicken dinner?

                  The chef/owner is an alum of Ad Hoc afterall . . .

                  2 Replies
                    1. Another hat tip to Melanie. I bookmarked this one, waiting for the chance. Finally, loved our late brunch here. My biscuits and gravy were the best I've had since Portland. Everything on the table, including the donuts, was excellent.

                      But the star of the show for me was Candy Cap ice cream. A totally new sensation for me, mushroom ice cream? Tastes reminiscent of maple, but not exactly. Wow.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: BernalKC

                        Oh my, I was there for brunch myself at 11am today. Did I just miss you? I loved the homemade plum jam served with the donuts.

                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                          We got there around 11:30 or so. The family of four sitting by the tree close to the kitchen. What a lovely day to be there.

                        2. re: BernalKC

                          My overdue post on that Sunday brunch two months ago . . . as drewskiSF points out, the fried chicken does make an appearance on the brunch menu partnered with a waffle, and that was all that I had eyes for. Chef/owner Kedan’s CV includes working at Ad Hoc in Yountville. In fact, ex-Ad Hoc chef, Dave Cruz, who created the famous fried chicken has done a chicken pop-up at Backyard.

                          Here’s the Chicken and waffle, $16, served with warm syrup, whipped honey butter, and homemade Damson plum jam. The chicken’s from Felton Acres. Usually the serving is a mix of white and dark meat. I requested all dark and my server said he’d try.

                          My plate came with three pieces of dark meat – two drumsticks and a thigh, dusted with chives and a bit of sea salt. The small size bird makes for a better crispy skin to meat volume ratio. Golden brown, thin and brittle crusting, succulent and juice-dripping meat, perfect subtle seasoning, intense chicken-y flavor with citrus undertones . . . I have to agree, this is the best fried chicken I’ve had in a restaurant.

                          The waffle was fine, but was abandoned by me once I bit into the blessed chicken. I took it home along with the jam for breakfast the next day.

                          This is another photo of the biscuits and mushroom gravy, this time the plate included home fries-style potatoes and salad. And I still didn’t get a taste.

                          And congratulations to the team for making Michelin’s Bib Gourmand.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            That fried chicken really is good. The gravy they were serving today with the biscuits and gravy was a tomato-bacon gravy, still with poached eggs, potatoes, and salad. Portions are not giant the way they are at some brunch places, but I still had to let my companions eat the potatoes after I had focused on the biscuits, eggs, gravy, and salad.

                            Also, they have nice spicy bloody Marys, made with sake (I guess they have just a beer/wine license).

                            1. re: ourswimmer

                              Yes, not giant portions, yet the food is very, very satisfying.

                        3. Adding a link to CyndiN's allergen-free lunch report,

                          Backyard is taking orders for Pie for Life, the annual Thanksgiving pie sale. Pies are $25 and $5 from each pie will be donated to the AIDS Nutrient Bank. I stopped by this afternoon to see if it might be possible to buy a slice of pie to sample. None will be available other than for this special sale. I was advised that the chocolate budino pie will be the same Backyard's own dessert that "tom246" describes in this thread.