Chalkboard (Healdsburg)

10-15 years ago Hotel Les Mars was one of the culinary hot spots in Healdsburg as Cyrus Restaurant was part of it (our own experience at Cyrus was mixed with good dishes but unbelievable unprofessional service). After some legal fights Cyrus closed about 10 years and since then restaurants in the hotel were flying a bit under the radar. The current one, Chalkboard, might not operate on the same level as a two-star restaurant but we had a very nice dinner with the house-made pasta dishes a clear highlight.

Wilted Farms green salad - mizuna, radishes, candied limequats, sesame, pecorino romano, blood orange agrumato, balsamic - nice combinations of flavors and textures

Crudo - hamachi, apple, cucumber, chives, shallot, preserved lemon, tobiko - the fish to “everything else” looked a bit off first but worked out quite well. Fresh, light dish

Assorted cheese & charcuterie - assorted cheeses, cured meats, dried fruits, house-made jam, crostini - classic combinations

Cocoa trifoglio - duck confit, cream, brandy, hazelnut praline - the earthy notes from the cocoa worked well with the duck confit

Rigatoni - roasted pork shoulder, carrots, onions, garlic, cream - ragu bianco which let the very tender pork shine

Linguine Carbonara - bacon, shallots, garlic, egg, black pepper, pecorino romano - classic preparation but as in all three pasta dishes the fresh pasta made a difference with its great mouthfeel

Flourless chocolate cake, brandied cherry ice cream