MICHELIN Guide’s Point Of View
“Exquisite” barely begins to describe a meal at this Healdsburg jewel, where every detail has been considered, from the moss and flowers cradling the amuse-bouche presentation to the packets of heirloom seeds that are sent home as parting gifts. Trained in Japan, Chef Kyle Connaughton adheres to the philosophy of omotenashi, or anticipating a guest’s every need. The menu is acutely tuned to each micro-season in Sonoma County, thanks to the bounty provided by farmer and co-owner, Katina Connaughton. For instance, spring might bring delicately smoked Ora king salmon topped with arctic char roe and myoga; while winter showcases pumpkin tartare with Dungeness crab and a miso-makrut lime foam. An expert in donabe (Japanese clay pot) cooking, the chef proclaims his skills with brilliant fish dishes like “fukkura-san”—black cod that is served over a broth of ember-grilled fish bones. Desserts include a Japanese cheesecake or a delicate snowfall of buttermilk-thyme sherbet. The service and wine selection are every bit the equal of their thoughtful food and décor, to the point where guests may never want to leave. For them, there's an on-site inn, where lovely breakfasts await the next day.