I’m having fun exploring Sonoma County now that I have wheels, and recently I went up with some friends to check out a couple of wineries near Healdsburg. Afterwards, we had a late lunch right in the town square at a lovely spot with the fun name of Barndiva.
The restaurant is an actual barn that was moved to the spot by the owners, and it’s been beautifully decorated with a stylish decor and popular patio seating where we had our lunch.
3-Course Prix Fixe
Because we were a group of six, we were able to make reservations but that also meant we had to order the three- course prix fixe lunch menu for $39 each person. That actually turns out to be a nice deal because you have a few options to choose from so you don’t feel limited.
Of course, we topped our wine drinking with some of Barndiva’s specialty cocktails. My friends couldn’t resist ordering “The Flirt,” a jalapeño tequila based drink, while I tried the “Play the Cat” (even though I’m a dog person). All the specialty drinks cost $12.
Lunch started with an appetizer tray for the table of goat cheese croquettes. I just tried one because of I’m gun-shy with deep-fried foods (the appetizer section was the only course with no other options), and while it was nicely fried, I thought the filling of home-made tomato jam was a bit too much (too much jam, and too sweet, especially with the added drizzle of lavender honey).
For my starter, the warm weather made the chilled asparagus soup a perfect fit. It came out beautifully designed with the pattern made of sorrel creme fraiche. It was a nice balance of visually pleasing and tastefully satisfying.
Our meal ended with the main course, and many of us (including myself) ordered the wild Pacific sea bass, plated elegantly with a polenta block, swiss chard and what seemed like a tapenade. Everything was good, but not amazing. My fish was tender but the exterior was a tad overcooked.
Some of my friends ordered the other options of Barndiva burger and romaine lettuce with chicken, and they all found the burger cooked to order and the salad huge and filling with perfectly cooked chicken (I envied that plate and wished I had ordered it instead).
The Last Bite
Barndiva has a first-rate cocktail program and we had a friendly server for our large party. All the dishes are well thought out and beautifully plated. While there are times when some dishes seemed a bit off, it never reached the level of bringing the overall experience down. The bar and location are probably bigger draw, and on a beautiful day, a lovely spot for lunch.
Rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps
Barndiva, 231 Center St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.431.0100. Open for lunch and dinner, Wednesday through Sunday. Reservations accepted for parties of 6 or more. Major credit cards accepted. www.barndiva.com