October 24, 2008 6

Cyrus (Sonoma: Healdsburg)

By in 04: SF+Bay Area, Favorite Food Entries

Even though we missed French Laundry, we wouldn’t want to skip the chance to have an epic gourmet meal at the wine country either. So we booked roughly one month ahead for a table at Cyrus instead. Based on the review I read it’s hailed as the next best thing after French Laundry (some even says it’s just as good). Michelin gave it 2 stars. But what really convinced us was their menu: it sounds interesting and innovative. I like that they offer different price ranges for course menu (3 for $78, 4 for $90, 5 for $102). The Chef’s 8 courses tasting menu is $130.


Cyrus is located at Healdsburg in Sonoma County (about 45 mins drive from Napa Valley). The dining room is sophisticated and luxurious in a homey way. The vibe was relax and non-stuffy.

As soon as we sat down, a cart with champagne and caviar rolled by. We told the server we’re not interested and they immediately brought over a Canapés with three-tier of complimentary goodies to excite our taste buds. The most memorable one was Beer Bubble (the golden bubbles on the spoons in left pix), it has a thin gel cover and the beer liquid burst into your mouth. I love the Grapes with Candied ginger (2nd pix) a lot too.


A waiter carried a big basket full of freshly baked homemade bread throughout the night and you can get as many as you like. The bread were fantastic! Our favorite ones were the Olive Bread, Bacon and Garlic Bread, Rosemary Sourdough and Brioche. They need to open a bakery like Bouchon! The Goat Milk Butter and French Butter were nice too.

I got the 8 course Chef’s tasting menu while Freda got 8 courses from their regular menu. We didn’t do wine pairing because we’re weak drinker, so we did the half and half pairing with a glass of both white and red.

Amuse Bouche + 1st Course:

Amuse Bouche: Tomato Gelee with Heirloom Tomato (so grape-like sweet!)
Joan: Spot Prawn Sashimi with Melon and Pickled Napa Cabbage.
I was surprised at how well the prawn taste with melon. A refreshing dish.
Freda: Thai Marinated Lobster with Avocado, melon and Hearts of Palm

2nd Course:
Joan: Tagliarini with Sugar Pie Pumpkin Coulis and Acorn Ham, Egg Yolk
This is one of my most favorites of the night. It’s kind of hard to describe what it taste like as there were many strong flavors working together. Very interesting dish.


Freda: Seared Foie Gras with Peaches, crispy Soba Noodles and Cashews.
Heavenly, perfectly seasoned Foie Gras! The cashews cream (dots on the plate) was a little too dominating and peanut-buttery but they can be ignored. I didn’t care much for the crispy soba noodle (bottom layer) either, they are too cripsy, oily and felt like a separate component with the silky smooth Foie Gras. They kept me chewing for a long time after I finished everything else.

3rd Course:
Joan: Tairagai with Matsutake
A Japanese tasting dish. A good “palate cleansing” after my last intense dish.

Freda: Dover Sole with Sweet Corn and Tomato Fondue, Lemon Verbena Nage
By this time I see the pattern: my dishes (=their regular menu) tend to be more hearty than Joan’s. The fish was cooked perfectly, very tender and moist. The thick sweet corn sauce contrast very well with the flavorful Tomato. The strong flavors compliment well with the delicate fish, very good!

4th Course:
Joan: Duck Breast with Smoked Hen of the Woods, Potato Hash
Really good! I’m glad to see this classic French fare among the fusion-heavy tasting menu as it always make me happy. The duck breast was perfectly medium rare, the seared foie gras was great and I loved the sauce.

Freda: Crispy Poussin with Roasted Corn Stuffing and Nardello Peppers
Knowing my aversion to chicken in restaurant, I still enjoyed this dish. Though I couldn’t help staring at Joan’s duck with envy.

5th Course:
Joan: Wagyu Beef with Kombu and Cherry Tomatoes, Ponzu
Side: Rice cake
Another Japanese fusion dish, and definitely another highlight of the night. It’s absolutely amazing! The meat just melt in your mouth. I’m so-so with the rice cake though. A very satisfying dish nonetheless.

Freda: Lamb Loin with Cranberry Beans, Vin Santo Sauce
Side: Cippolini Onions
The lamb is no Wagyu Beef but it’s still delicious. The onion was unbelievably sweet like a grape.

6th Course:
Cheese cart with 15 different types of artisan and farmhouse cheeses came by for the Cheese course. The server would ask your preferences. We told him we prefer rich/stinky soft cheeses for Freda and hard ones for me.

And viola here’re his selections for us. I wish I wrote down the names though. They’re accompanied with nuts, fresh figs, homemade fruit cakes and honey comb. We were pretty full by then, but we end up clearing the entire plate because they were so good. The soft cheese were better~

7th Course:
We both got the Strawberry Verjus Soup with Yuzu Partfait, citrusy and refreshing. Coffee was good.

8th Course:
Joan: Lemon Huckleberry Souffle with Frozen White Chocolate Truffle.
Light and creamy, a little overshadowed by the intense flavors of the previous dessert.

Freda: Chocolate Ganache Bar, Milk Chocolate Sorbet, Raspberry Tuile.
In the end I get a ‘heavier’ dessert as well. Amazingly rich chocolate flavors and not sweet. The varieties satisfied a chocolate lover in every way.

Final Treat:
Mignardises. A candy cart is wheeled out and we picked our candies. The popsicle flavor was basil. We also got a box of brownie (not in photo) to take home. We left very full, satisfied and happy.

The service was absolutely impeccable. It seemed like they have an army of waiters. We were served by different people in every course. There was a big table at the back where 10-12 waiters with plates would march inside in a single line, it was quite a sight.

Since we stayed at Calistoga (where the wedding was) which was in Napa Valley, it took us a 45 minutes drive on a windy, hilly and dark forest road to get to Healdsburg. The return trip was frightening because the road was complete pitch black (and they’re not generous with signs). The driving experience reminded me of a particular Fellini’s short film (or a certain North by Northwest sequence) which was not dissimilar from my re-occuring nightmares. I’m really glad the meal was worth all these trouble. I think $130 for the 8 course tasting menu was definitely worth it. I like to go back to Cyrus as their menu changes based on seasons. Next time I could just get the 3 or 5 courses and I would definitely stay closer to Healdsburg.

The Japanese fusion modern French menu reminds me of Sona, but I prefer Cyrus overall, not to mention they are bigger in portion.

Cyrus Restaurant (707) 433-3311
29 North St Healdsburg, CA 95448

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6 Responses to “Cyrus (Sonoma: Healdsburg)”

  1. Joel M. says:

    Sounds great. I was recently in the area and had a great and fun meal at Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen. Great meat dishes and service. Fun, unstuffy but nice vibe, too.

  2. tien. says:

    i really liked this review!! especially the part about driving back and forth in pitch black and knowing that it was worth it. hopefully i can save enough monies to go one day …

  3. sneakermonkey says:

    Great post! Awesome that you guys got 2 different sets and compared them. Freda, I can’t blame you for being envious. I’m sure your set was awesome, but looking at Joan’s set, it must have been tough not to be jealous! Wagyu beef? Talk about the grass being greener on the other side of the fence. Props to Freda for taking one for the team! 🙂

  4. seat says:

    Gosh double meat course! Duck/chicken followed by beef/lamb…..wow heaven. I can’t help drooling over the Tagliarini with egg yolk….
    Is the cheese plate included in the course or additional order? I’m surprised you guys managed to finish them!

  5. Chan says:

    Amazing eats and delicious surprises!!!

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