Cyrus, Hotel Les Mars, Healdsburg, CA

The people who used to live in our apartment did not forward their magazines so we are receiving their Food and Wine. Just by chance, while flipping through, John noticed a review for Cyrus, the restaurant in the pricey Les Mars Hotel in Healdsburg. We decided to try it for his birthday dinner.

This is a fabulous restaurant. The décor and service are terrific. When you are seated a champagne and caviar cart arrives followed by amuse bouche. The three tidbits included a spoonful of beef tartar, a polenta diamond and a shrimp on a bed of slivered marinated carrot. All were delicious.

The menu is broken down into various components; vegetables, lobster, fish and shellfish, risotto, foie gras, poultry and meat. There is also a cheese and dessert category. Each category has a number of selections. The price of your meal depends on how many courses you choose. So you can mix and match whatever you like and have it in any order.

We settled on three courses with a wine pairing for each course. It was more than enough. Here are our choices.

John

Chilled cucumber soup with glazed shrimp and mint. Paired with an Austrian Gruener Veltiner. The soup was surprisingly pungent and tart, not watery and bland.

Stone bass with black eyed peas, corn, bacon and mustard greens. This was paired with a California Pinot Noir. The creaminess of the perfectly cooked fish played off the intense smokey/bitter flavors of the accompaniments. It could stand up easily to a red wine.

Lamb loin with Italian butter beans, merguez sausage and tomato confit. This was paired with a cab franc/merlot from Tuscany. Again the dish was perfectly cooked and the lamb sausage was really good.

Mary

Thai marinated lobster, avocado, melon and freash hearts of palm paired with a just off-dry riesling. This was the biggest star of the meal. I wanted to lick the plate. Yum.

Seared foie with fig compote and crispy potato, balsamic reduction. Instead of serving it with the usual sauterne, it was paired with tokai. Although this was really delicious, the foie had a really different texture from ones I’ve had in Europe, more meaty in consistency.

Filet of beef tenderloin, chanterelles, haricot vert and gnocchi paired with a Sonoma cabernet sauvignon. Tender, medium rare and I loved the gnocchi.

The cheese cart and desserts looked amazing but we were just too full. We were served small complimentary dessert bites and sent on our way with small boxes of treats. The whole dinner was a huge success and, although not cheap, it was not outlandishly expensive and we felt we got good value for our money.

John’s grade – A
Mary’s grade – A

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