This is a beautiful luxury inn and restaurant on River Road, about three or four miles west of the Martinelli winery. It's quite romantic, has impeccable service, delicious food and an impressive wine list. One of the friends eating with us was a vegetarian and the restaurant put together quite a remarkable vegetarian spread. My wife and I started with Ahi tuna tartare then had the local lamb and grilled octopus, all impeccable. I don't eat desserts, but they looked quite refined and appealing.
Our sommelier, Allyson Gorsuch, was also top-notch. Our wines included the Carlisle 2011 Gruner Veltliner, which I loved. It's good to see Mike Officer producing this naked, stainless steel white wine from a varietal that has won considerable praise (and justifiably so) in Austria. We also had a reasonably priced 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape Bois de Boursan from the wine list. We ended up having several bottles of that, and at only $78 a bottle, it was a steal compared to some of the other high-end red wines available.
This is not as casual as other Sonoma restaurants, but at the same time it is not pretentious in any way, but rather has a wonderful, laid-back wine country feel. Given the high-quality food along with top-notch service and the pleasant ambiance, this is definitely another place I'll go back to on future visits.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...