Sonoma/Marin County line greens, cheese and wine made for a home from home in a Friday-night foray down to the Ferry Building for a wine maker's dinner at iL Cane Rosso.
In the words of refreshingly unpretentious AAron Inman of Russian River's Romililly Wines: "Wine is fun. Winemaking is funner. Drinking wine is funnest." Well, drinking Inman and his brother's Sonoma County Pinot, Chardonnay and Napa Rose, paired with iL Cane Rosso's complex, creative, incredibly fresh and tasty Italian dishes certainly did put the 'fun' back into a Friday night foodie excursion.
If you've walked by the little bolt-hole that is il Cane Rosso in the Ferry Building and wondered, but not taken a bite, do make a pit-stop when next in passing. Three course, pre-fix dinners are on the menu every night. Staff are friendly and efficient and despite a busy location in the building, all the activity in the area just makes for more of a lively, street-food gone wild sort-of dining experience.
First up on Friday night's wine maker dinner was a local sardine 'scapece' with tangy rhubarb, County Line Farm radishes and fennel and fresh mint. Paired with a beautifully, bright August Briggs (Inman's other job) Rose.
Possibly one of the best broth soups I've ever been served arrived in a deep, white bowl with farva beans English and snap peas, carrots, local herbs and flowers, Israeli couscous and Parmesan brodo. Fellow diners took equal delight, paired with a crisp, delightful Chardonnay and collectively, we figured the quality of Parmesan, soaked into the broth was what made for such extravagant flavoring.
Braised Range Brothers pork cheek with house made plum mostarda and smoked lardo paired with a lightish 2008 Pinot. Meat was braised to perfection and the plum mostardo must be one of Chef Ryan Pollnow's best kept secrets, hidden away under lock and key for special appearances on deserving dishes.
A taste of Sonoma County again with the cheese platter: Valley Ford Cheese Company's Estero Gold, a little slice of heaven from our part of the world, served with sublime, lavender roasted strawberries, toasted hazlenuts and balsamic, nicely paired with a bolder, 2009 Pinot.
If iL Cane Rosso doesn't outgrow this spot I'd be surprised. Top pick for a Bay-side bite.