October 23, 2022

Get. To. SingleThread.

I should probably just stop writing. It's all you need to know. This is not an experience that can be described properly on a blog. This is one of those restaurants that brings everything together for a clear and homogeneous message. Heavy Japanese influence in a warm environment invoking a feeling of eating in someone's home. 

They nail it. Every bit of it.

Service is off the charts. I'm not sure I could find a flaw if I tried. Staff was warm and friendly and upbeat, with that perfect balance of being present and joyful to spend as much time with you as you would ever like, but not a second more. This includes the kitchen staff, who you get to observe from up close as you enter.

You move from there to an absolutely beautiful and warm dining room, and at your table awaits the most incredible centerpiece you have ever seen, which contains a myriad of your first bites. It's an indescribable excitement to be welcome in to this. They are not messing around. They want you happy. They want to serve you. They want to show you what they can do.

It's spectacular.

The food here is at such a high level, from sourcing to conception to execution. Each plate was a masterpiece and presented in a way that elevated it even higher. "Art" in true form, one after another. And diverse flavors which honored the ingredients and kept your palate wanting more.

A few dishes missed the mark. That gorgeous salad was overshadowed by the mousse within it, which dominated both texturally as well as in flavor. What should have been the celebration of a local apple varietal was instead a creamy, rich stew. I worked to avoid the mousse (which in and of itself was excellent) but could not.

The back to back tomato dishes were also a head scratcher. Both featured an identical flavor profile highlighting the acidic notes of late harvest tomatoes, rather than their sweet side which would have elevated the proteins they accompanied.

These were more than overshadowed by dishes like the incredible tilefish with sunchoke puree, the wagyu and of course, the myriad of opening bites.

Back to the impeccable service. We noticed a card on an adjacent table - clearly to celebrate an anniversary or similar event. I joked with our server that we felt left out because we didn't receive one. We got a good laugh about it. But when they brought our menus, one had a card wrapped in it. This was from a different server. "Cindy told me you felt left out because of the card, so we wanted to be sure to get you one." It is these small but perfect touches that demonstrate a restaurant singularly focused on hospitality. Brilliant.

If you want a quintessential 3-star experience, this is your place. It was my final 3-star in the United States, a goal I have worked towards for years now. And what a place to finish. I'd beg you to go at any cost. You'll thank me, and especially them, for providing such a luxurious and inspiring experience.

Strawberry juice, yuzu sparkling water welcomes you as you...
Sit in a window overlooking the kitchen. You're right there, seeing the prep, hearing them call tickets. It's a fantastic welcome in that gets you really excited for what's to come!
This greets you as you sit at the table. It's literally breathtaking. The beauty and intricacy of this presentation is the best welcome I have ever seen. The vision to provide this experience combined with the efforts required for each and every table...truly mind blowing. Each of the bites was so beautiful that they warrant their own photo...
Oysters, shaved ice made from tomato water. Perfection.
Salmon, marinated with sake and miso, dehydrated
Asian pears with Japanese snapper
Fairytale eggplants, fried, dashi
Saba (Spanish mackerel), pickled, pomegranate ponzu, dichon
King crab, cauliflower, baby brocollini
Halibut sushi roll, pumpkin seed red shiso rice, kohlrabi ribbons
Pumpkin panna cotta, Siberian caviar
A5 wagyu tartare, pickled carrot
Tapioca pearl chip, madai (snapper) ceviche
They then added warm dishes: Malted potatoes, chanterelle and lobster Mushrooms underneath. Insanely good.
Tempura squash blossom
Duck thigh served with an egg yolk sauce (not pictured)
The presentation of the next course...
Such beauty...
Shima Aji (striped jack) sashimi and maki, cucumbers, avocado, gooseberries, passion fruit. As delicious as it is gorgeous.
Showcasing the next ingredients: matsutake mushrooms and sunchoke
Revealing the mushroom broth which steeped in front of you at the table...
Silken tofu, mushroom broth, pine nut puree
Tile fish, sunchoke puree...
The scales of the fish are kept on, basted in hot oil to puff up and become crunchy then the fish is fried skin side down. The salt/crunch of the scales cutting through sweet fish and untuous puree...wow!! This dish was off the charts.
Gravenstein apple (native to Sonoma county) salad, duck liver mousse, Sicilian pistachio crumble, greens. The mousse (which you can't see) dominated this dish texturally and flavor-wise, leaving little apple flavor. And it was supposed to be the star. Definite sidestep to the perfect dishes before this.
The salad was accompanied by this...
Buttermilk miso cake, Gravenstein apple gel, French burgundy. Nice front-and-center presentation of the apple on this one.
Black cod on a Japanese grill...
Black cod, tomatoes, tomato miso puree, baby cherry tomatoes, tomato ponzu, charred spring onion...
Adding a tomato jus...
This dish was dominated by the acidic tomatoes. It would have soared with with sweet tomatoes, but it's late in the season. I wondered if the flavor profile of this dish was what was intended. The fish was glorious, but dominated by the tomato no matter what combination of broth/tomatoes I tried.
Next presentation...
Tomato sorbet olive oil dehydrated strawberries cucamelon (hybrid cucumber watermelon), soft tofu, cream yuzu, ricotta. This dish had an identical acidic tomato flavor to the previous dish. Serious flaw to do this back to back.
A5 wagyu Miyazaki, pepper relish, pepper puree, miren glazed potatoes, green shiso emulsion. Insanely perfect.
Celebration of onions. The logo of SingleThread is an onion flower, and it's the only vegetable they grow year round...
Wagyu short rib braised 48h, onions folded into rice, cheese, sourdough foam, onion powders. This dish just didn't seem to "fit". It was odd from a menu arc and flavor profile both. It definitely celebrated onion in a myriad of ways, but something missed. It was so heavily unctuous that I craved salt or acid to cut through. Just seemed like heavy calories, missing the finesse found in every other presentation.
It was served with a traditional Japanese snack: onion jam, pickled dichon. This served as a palate cleanser with its bright acidic notes. Really nice bite, perfectly placed.
Grape sorbet, 3 layer cake, Feuille de brick
Chocolate tart smoking over cedar and oak (arrived smoking from underneath)
Warm tea, lemon verbena from their garden. Beautiful.
A tower of treats, including Japanese cookies (pear cinnamon miso) and "eggs in a nest" (almond white chocolate shell, apple chai juice)
Burnt honey and fig custard
The beautiful menu to take home...
With a personalized note from Chef Kyle

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