Orange Tarragon Tea
Jasmine Tea, Cardamom, Gewürztraminer Grape Juice
Late Winter in Sonoma – Roasted Beets with Pistachio, White Asparagus with Daikon Radish and Perigord Black Truffles, Ume Medai with Preserved Plum, Kushi Oyster with Pickled Wasabi, Spanish Mackerel with Green Garlic, Needlenose Fish with Yuzu and Radish, Braised Takenoko, Dungeness Crab with Spaghetti Squash, Rudderfish with Chive and Kombu, Parsnip Panna Cotta with Hokkaido Sea Urchin
Farm Egg Custard, Charred Japanese Eggplant, Dashi Jelly, Karasumi
Potatoes, Cod Collar, Preserved Lemon
Lilly Bulbs, Fava Greens, Cured Trout Roe
Akabana Kanpachi, Cherry Blossom, Rhubarb, Cara Cara Orange, Kumquat, Cured Amberjack Belly
Santa Barbara Abalone, Hakurei Turnip, White Sturgeon Caviar, Wild Seaweed
Housemade Tofu, North Coast Mushrooms, Black Trumpet Mushrooms, Chanterelle Mushrooms, Pinenut, Mushroom Tea
Guinea Hen Roulade, Sunchoke, Charred Broccoli, Preserved Lemon
Black Cod, Tama Miso, Yuba, Young Lettuces, Romanesco, Beets, Carrots, Cabbage
American Wagyu, Roasted Salsify, Morel Mushrooms, Salted Plum, Black Garlic Sauce
Sonoma Grains, Braised Short Ribs, Beef Cheek, Puffed Tendon, Nettle Puree, Roasted Bone Marrow, Beef Consomme
Whey Granite, Oro Blanco, Douglas Fir, Rosemary Flowers, Cookie Crumble
Walnut Miso Ice Cream, Hojicha Steam Cake, Nocino Meringure, Prune
Wagashi – Golden Milk Egg with Turmeric and Ginger, Date and Kinako Butter, Rooibos Tea Ganache, Burnt Honey and Blood Orange
Although some have suggested Michelin Stars carry less weight stateside than overseas it would be difficult to tell any Chef the guide’s highest accolade is anything other than a momentous achievement, and having achieved trois etoiles less than two years after opening SingleThread Farm became America’s newest “destination” Restaurant with the 2019 publication.
Toqued by Kyle Connaughton, a sizable investment from outside sources allowing the kitchen veteran and his wife Katina to open their dream Restaurant, it is in the Wine Country town of Healdsburg that guests will fine the dining room and Inn, though thanks to unparalleled customer service those with a reservation will already have a good idea of what to expect.
Undoubtedly built with Michelin in mind, everything from Ingredients to service spotless from entry to exit, it is inside the foyer that guests are greeted with warm Tea plus a view of the kitchen, Connaughton’s interest in Japan continuing henceforth with decorations and coursing leading one to wonder whether the “single thread” refers to a connection between Sonoma County and Eastern cultures.
Tasting menu only and booked via Tock, pre-paying for everything but Beverages allowing the experience to unfold at a pace dictated by each table, it is upon seating that nine items are found waiting, the idea of Northern California in late-winter displayed by Beets, White Asparagus, Spaghetti Squash and Parsnips while proteins from Japan include Snapper, Rudderfish and creamy Hokkaido Sea Urchin each lightly accented by Herbs.
Opting against Alcohol but instead for housemade Juice, Gewürztraminer Grapes perfumed by Jasmine and Cardamom felt to be a good pairing for at least half the menu according to Sommelier Evan Hufford, it was from Chef Connaughton that three more Snacks were delivered, the laser-cut Egg offering Custard atop smoky Eggplant while SingleThread’s signature Potato Foam and seasonal Lilly Bulbs each dazzled thanks to restrained sweetness alongside fermented flavors.
Presented Kaiseki-style, the progression of flavors starting subtly with raw Amberjack and Citrus alongside a decorative Branch and gently cured Belly sandwiched between Shiso Leaves, it was shortly after finishing each snappy slice that a bowl of Abalone from Santa Barbara was offered, the thickened Sauce of Butter and Turnips truly mesmerizing as a foil to Seaweed harvested nearby and a sizable quenelle of Caviar.
Offered as eleven courses including Canapés and Mignardines, a total just over $300 excluding Wine in line with Restaurants of equal acclaim, it was perhaps ten minutes later that SingleThread Farm’s housemade Tofu was scooped atop three types of Mushrooms plus Pinenuts, the addition of bloomy Tea adding even more umami to textures not unlike Chawanmushi while the follow-up Guinea Hen Breast and Forcemeat unfortunately got a little lost in the setting of earthy Sunchokes and sweetened Lemon.
Back on track with Black Cod, though serving it with Egg-thickened Miso felt a little bit like Nobu save for an herbaceous finish, it was next that Domestic Wagyu was presented, both the meal’s cost and Connaughton’s fascination with Japan making one wonder why not source better though the three morsels did shine bite for bite with Salsify, Salted Plums and early-season Morels.
Concluding savories with Gohan, in this case local Grains with additional parts of the Cow and robust Consomme, it was to cleanse the palate that Grapefruit and Pine were paired with Ice, the astringency not particularly enjoyable but doing its job while the caramelized Cake to follow was far better and arguably the most complex plate of the night in terms of both taste and texture.
Wrapping with Wagashi, the Japanese tradition offered with Tea at a surcharge, fans of herbal Desserts are likely to be impressed by the exploding Egg awash with Turmeric and Ginger while those seeking sweet are better served by Date and Kinako Butter Cake or the Rooibos Tea Ganache before collecting their menu, a thank you and some Heirloom Seeds on the way out.