[US: Healdsburg] Disappointing Meal at 3* SingleThread Farm

Rating: ❤❤❤ (3/5)

Besides Seattle, we also made it down to the Bay Area and unfortunately had a rather disappointing meal at 3* SingleThread Farm - a Japanese-inspired restaurant that is currently ranked #2 on Opinionated About Dining (North America). It started out promising with a gorgeous spread of amuse bouche inspired by spring time in Sonoma with many fantastic little bites. But little did we know that was the peak and the rest of meal went downhill from there. Not that the dishes tasted bad per se but the flavors and ingredients were just not that exciting for someone coming from Asia. Miso, sansho, yuba, kumquat - perhaps it's exotic for people in the US but we see these ingredients used all the time here and the execution is just much better. Service is good but you would expect that from a restaurant that is charging US$225 per person for the tasting menu plus a 20% health and benefits surcharge and 8.75% taxes (which made the total before drinks to be $359 per person).

Before we entered the main dining room, we were invited to have a little drink in the entrance area where we can observe the open kitchen through a viewing window.

We were then led to our seats in the dining room and I was happy to see that they had accommodated my request to be seated with good lighting for photography.

The first dish Mid Spring in Sonoma had been laid out on the table already and I have to say that the plating of it all on a bed of moss and flowers was very impressive.

North Coast Tide Pool with akabana kanpachi, wild seaweeds and oyster emulsion

Spot Prawn with english pea, daikon radish, and cured prawn roe

Housemade Tofu with white and green asparagus, udo, sansho and pine nut - so the restaurant made a big deal about how the preparation of the tofu was carefully timed and only made the moment we walked through the door but flavors-wise, it was just lacking especially compared to the ones we've had in Japan and Hong Kong.

Globe Artichoke with guinea hen sabayon, black trumpet mushrooms and shiso

Black Cod with tama miso, yuba, vegetables from the farm and kumquat kosho - initially I was excited to hear that there is kumquat in the dish but I couldn't taste it at all. I was hoping it would be used in a way like how Tate in Hong Kong does by adding kumquat in a grenobloise sauce. In reality, the whole dish was just rather bland and boring.

Duclair Duck with roasted salsify, wild fern, morel mushrooms and salted plum - while the skin was nicely crisp like a Peking duck, the meat itself lacked flavor and the other ingredients didn't do much to add to the dish. It reminded me of the duck at Librije's Zusje in Amsterdam which also had a crispy skin but was executed much better. 

The most disappointing dish was probably the Sonoma Grains with nettle purée, roasted bone marrow and beef consommé; since the meal is based on the philosophy of kaiseki, then they should know that rice is an important element but we couldn't even taste the grains themselves since the whole thing was drowned in bone marrow and beef consomme. I wouldn't have minded so much if it tasted good but it was just overly salty and neither of us finished our bowl.

Rhubarb and Lemon Balm Granita with ginger, vanilla and coconut

Walnut Miso Ice Cream with hojicha steam cake and nocino

Wagashi with golden milk, date and kinako butter, rooibos and burnt honey and blood orange

Since we had to prepay at the time of reservations, the bill we received at the end was for drinks. We didn't have the wine pairing because it was even more expensive than the meal at US$270 - I'm not sure why it costs so much but we did have some champagne which was too acidic for our liking.

SingleThread Farm
131 North Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: +1(707)723-4646

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