If you're a fan of top-notch, fresh, local, seasonal meals without the pretentiousness of many wine country restaurants, head out to Bodega Bay and sit yourself down at one of the 35 seats inside Sonoma County's best kept dining secret, Michelin Star rated Terrapin Creek.
Chef owners, husband and wife team Andrew Truong and Liya Lin came north with their weighty San Francisco restaurant pedigrees to settle their skills in a homey little seaside eaterie, tucked away off the coastal route through Bodega Bay. in 2008.
Andrew worked at Jardiniere, Ame, and Bacar; Liya at Michael Mina, Ame, Ducca, and Absinthe before they made their move to Sonoma County to start a business and a family of their own.
Fellow diners at Terrapin Creek on a Thursday evening in July appeared a mish-mash of well-healed second homers, coastal locals in t-shirts and flip-flops and small groups of North Bay intrepid dinner travelers, including "the glampers" — Lesley, Jane, Gail and me, long-time friends and traveling companions who prefer the glamorously rustic over anything too posh!
The glampers opted for a splendid array of scrumptious starters, including Hamachi Crudo (parsley and radish, salsa, horseradish, lemon juice and olive oil), Prosciutto and Roasted Asparagus Salad, a Salad of Charred Octopus and Roasted Cauliflower, Monterey Sardines and Pan Roasted Maine Scallops.
For our main course, three couldn't resist the tidal pull of super seasonal Blackened Local King Salmon served over Sugar Snap Peas, Roasted Artichokes & Mushrooms, Tomato-Butter Sauce. I was the odd-one-out with a bowl of aromatic and completely delicious Lamb and White Bean Cassoulet (Braised Lamb Shoulder, Lamb Sausage, Cremini Mushrooms, Broccolini).
The wine list at Terrapin Creek is extensive and ranges from plentiful in the moderately priced range to the more extravagant. Again, the emphasis is on unpretentiousness and I was pleased to see lots of great wines in the lower price range. We went for a crisp, white (family owned) Barlow Sauvignon Blanc, which paired well with both fish and cassoulet.
This delightfully low-key restaurant was awarded a Michelin Star in 2011. It is open for lunch and dinner Thursday through Sunday. As seating is limited, reservations are wise.
Terrapin Creek Cafe is located at 1580 Eastshore Rd., Bodega Bay; (707) 875-2700 terrapincreekcafe.com