Backyard Restaurant in Forestville

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Backyard Restaurant

Salad of baby romaine, pork belly, pickled tomatoes and torn croutons. Intentional. Authentic. At Backyard in Forestville

Backyard Restaurant: Unlike a thousand other restaurants with twee Mason jars and artisan farminess slathered all over their menus, Forestville’s Backyard Restaurant gets its dirt-cred authentically.

Sourcing, literally, from chef-owner Daniel Kedan’s own backyard culinary gardens and those of his ranch and farming neighbors, the Ad Hoc and Peter Lowell’s alum opened his small community-focused restaurant in October with a relatively simple menu that relies on seasonal produce, foragers and whole-animal butchery as its foundation.

Suffice to say Kedan and partners Chefs Seth Harvey and Marianna Gardenhire can actually tell you the name of the person who grew the restaurant’s lettuce, raised its chickens and made the hemp oil on your steak. Kedan also happens to document many of his adventures in local fields, pig pens and foraging jaunts on Facebook in case you care to see your pork chop-in-development.

With nods to the diverse palates of Sonoma County which are something akin to microclimates around these parts, you’ll find a seared steak accented with hemp oil or buttermilk onion rings next to gluten-free, vegan gnocchi with wild mushrooms so unctuous and rich you’ll swear its loaded with butter and beef stock, local water kefir, coveted Green Valley wines, greens with nutritional yeast and flatbread with arugula and lemon oil. Literally something for everyone.

Every Wednesday the restaurant serves a simple, comforting family-style fried chicken dinner, but also regularly features dishes like blanched broccoli rabe with delicate purses of burrata or butternut squash flatbreads or steaming pot pies throughout the week. Or one of the best salads I’ve ever eaten — an ice cold plate of baby Romaine, torn croutons, pork belly, and herbed dressing. Honestly, however, it seems almost unfair to suggest any particular dish because chances are Kedan’s menu will have moved on to whatever’s at its height of perfection this week. And that’s exactly the point of eating at Backyard. Often.

Like any restaurant, not every dish is perfect. But even when it misses the mark, each bite feels to wonderfully real. And quintisentially Sonoma County.

Backyard, 6566 Front St., Forestville (the former Sarah’s Forestville Kitchen), 707-820-8445. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner until 9p.m., brunch on Sunday. Facebook Page

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Author: biteclub

Food Dining and Restaurants in Sonoma County and beyond, is Wine Country dining with Drive-Thru Sensibility.

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  1. Stopped in by chance for brunch, I had the Reuben sandwich and my wife pulled chicken (out of pulled pork, but she was happy with the chicken). Best dang sandwich I’ve had all year! I think they were short on staff that day, but we did get seated and served although it seemed the staff wasn’t quite sure who was serving us. Our server, Adam I think, was a delight. Beer selection is great. Meal was not pricey if you consider the source and preparation.

    We will be back!

  2. We always have vegetarian and vegan options- for every meal :)

  3. You are more than welcome to have more of any of the salad, sides or chicken. At $32 for 3 courses of local, organic food- it’s not gouging. It’s how much good food costs. That breaks down to $8 for a salad, $6 for dessert and $20 for organic fried chicken with two sides (and we offer guests extra of everything). Almost everyone leaves that night with to-go boxes. If we charged you less- we would be using factory farmed chicken and vegetables. We are just not going to do that. I’m sorry you were not satisfied with your experience.

  4. My husband and I were excited to go to Backyard to for the family style fried chicken on Wednesday night and sat down to see $32 PER PERSON on the prix fix menu. We didn’t really want to pay $32 for fried chicken but were there so decided to stay. The salad as delicious and fresh with one of the best dressings I’ve even had. No bread or anything to accompany the salad. They then served six pieces of fried chicken on a platter and small amounts of mashed potatoes and collard greens. The chicken was delicious! The greens good, but the pork was a bit much with the fried chicken, the potatoes were the consistency of glue. Dessert was two delicious cupcakes. In the end neither of us were thrilled to pay over $100 (including one glass of wine and tip). My suggestion to Backyard is to serve less chicken, serve bread with the salad, do something about the potatoes and lower the price!

    We want Backyard to succeed in Forestville and that success will be dependent on business from locals so offer great local food, but don’t forget the small extras and don’t gouge us for fried chicken.

  5. Have to try it out,

    Looks realy good!! Yum Yummy..

  6. yeah. the bread was torn instead of cut into cubes. then made into croutons.
    torn croutons

  7. Did you really say “torn croutons?”

  8. Stopped in last night after traveling home from the eat coast. This was our second visit. Had an incredible meal…the crab cakes are amazing. Sat at the counter and watched Daniel & Seth prepare some fabulous dishes…completely unpretentious just amazing meals at reasonable prices…while I so miss Mosaic, this is a bit more relaxed and way more affordable. Definitely my new favorite Sonoma Co. Restaurant. If you have not tried it yet, I highly recommend it!

  9. Wish i could run the same concept @ cuvee , i will get out there soon so u can cook for me..

  10. The Flatbread was incredible! Great start to the meal. The Broccoli rabe and burrata was a cold appetizer/salad. Maybe it is the italian in me but I NEED bread with my cheese. We asked twice and were told that sometimes they have bread and they will check but never came back. Otherwise everything was tasty and I am sure that they will work the bugs out, but paying for toast at breakfast sounds kind of strange. Walk accross the street to Nightengale. All in all it is nice to have another restaurant in town and cant wait for the other one to open accross the street.

  11. As a Forestvillian — I’m are so excited to see another new restaurant open in our little town. I’ve dined there several times and the food is first-rate. the passion and commitment to quality, locally-sourced ingredients is evident in every bite! Love, Love, Love the Backyard!

    Welcome to the hood Daniel, Seth and Marianna!

  12. Loved it!

  13. Just had Sunday brunch here. Chose the chicken fried steak and eggs. ($14) Cutlet was well seasoned and in a (very small portion of) delicious porcini gravy. Eggs were fresh and tasty. And that was it. Dish came with nothing else. A good CFS and egg breakfast cries out for some breakfast potatoes or at the very least some toast – and the cutlet should have been slathered in gravy. Asked for toast ($1) and was brought promptly. Water glasses are way too small and require constant refilling. I was empty for stretches of time. Place is obviously still getting settled in and problems occur – at least one dish was sent back to kitchen while I was there and another table seemed to be having a problem. I salute the concept of this restaurant, and while there was much to like for me, I think I’ll wait for them to work their kinks out.

  14. Sounds lovely, and I’m sure no one is missing that mess that was there before…

    I might have to give it a try!

  15. Did anyone notice if there were any vegetarian/vegan options. I would love to try it. The food looks fantastic!

  16. I have been there 3 times already! Brunch is amazing- chicken and waffles are to die for! So was the hash and eggs. I do not think I have EVER seen eggs that bright and beautiful, and the flavor!! Came back for a business lunch mid week and was glad we decided to eat there. Had the burger and loved every bite. The beef is grass fed (and Sonoma County local!) so it doesnt taste like the sysco burgers some of you may be use to- it actually tastes the way meat is suppose to. My partner had the fish sandwich with celery root slaw, and couldnt even talk because he was so enthralled with his meal. Third time was last night for the fried chicken Wednesday. I do not think I have ever in my life had chicken that good. I am so excited to have a new place to dine and a place that has AMAZING food, actually sourced local (they pride themselves on not having a produce company, but working relationships with farms/farmers), and a great atmosphere!

  17. Amazing!…. those sourced local shrimp in the gazpacho pic! Are they Russian River or Lake Sonoma?? For sure those weren’t just delivered to the back door…..

  18. We stopped in a couple weeks ago for Sunday Brunch. My Chicken and Waffles was excellent/crispy/wonderfully seasoned (Chicken) and limp/cold (waffles). My companions burger she said had a weird taste to the meat. Said it didn’t taste like a burger. Want to go back for dinner but getting her past the burger has been a test in patience. Looking forward to a return soon though. It’s nice to have good eats back in F’ville and awaiting the opening of Canettis as well.

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