Brasserie | Santa Rosa

Beets with goat cheese

Hyatt Vineyard Creek Inn’s Brasserie, has had it’s ups and downs. Starting life as the chef-inspired Brasserie de la Mer with Liz Ozanich in the kitchen, it was managed until 2007 as Seafood Brasserie by Portland-based McCormick & Schmick’s. There were some heady days, but for the most part, the restaurant has struggled to find a consistent local audience. To be honest, there wasn’t always a lot to get jazzed about.

Which isn’t terribly surprising when you consider that corporate hotel restaurants aren’t known for inviting their chefs to put a strong personal point-of-view on their cuisine. There are just too many competing demands: The weekend eggs Benedict and Mimosa crowd, harried corporate lunchers, mandatory Happy Hours, budget vacationers, families and luxury expense accounters — not to mention banquet catering and various corporate bigwigs nitpicking the menu. It’s not the easiest gig.

So I’m giving big props to Brasserie’s Exec Chef Richard Whipple who recently simplified things up at the Brasserie with a refreshing, accessible all-day menu that brings together all those demands while maintaining some solid gastronomic cred and his own farm-to-table philosophy.

Still in it’s early days, the menu is an easy-going combination of small plates (earthy roasted beets with truffle oil and goat cheese mousse, chicken satay, addictive crispy green beans with chipotle aoili);  $10-$13 sandwiches (sweet and savory slow-roasted pulled Kurobuta pork on a ciabatta bun, burgers with applewood bacon); salads (goat cheese tomato galette, seafood Louie); and larger plates (roasted local halibut with lemon-dill potatoes and caper butter, fish and chips, grilled pork chop, ). Smaller portions are available for most entrees (and half portions for kiddos), and a number of the small plates are available during the restaurant’s popular Happy Hour. Regulars will recognize many of Whipple’s signature dishes (the galette, halibut). The French-trained chef (Whipple worked at Domaine Chandon with Philippe Jeanty for nine years, as well as at Mustard’s and Deuce Restaurant in Sonoma) has a solid Wine Country background and makes a mean Swedish cream cannoli that took big awards at the 2010 Harvest Fair.

After tasting through a good part of the menu, call me jazzed.

Brasserie at the Hyatt Vineyard Creek,170 Railroad Street, Santa Rosa, 636.7388. Lunch daily from 11:30 to 2:30pm; dinner from 5pm to 10pm Sunday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday until 11pm.

Author: biteclub

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

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7 Comments

  1. I dined at the Brasserie when they first opened back when. It was an excellent meal even by Sonoma County standards. Then we took a dear friend and family there for his birthday (happened to have worked for the winegrowers assoc). Didn’t see any of the previous staff, including the wait staff. What a disaster, absolutely nothing was right. We figured that the opening staff was sent by corporate for a limited amount of time and then turned over to god knows who. We have never been back. But. we’ll give the new guys a chance. Only one.

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  2. Love the earthy food. I remember the eating a Rib-eye there that was soooooo good : P

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  3. Good to see that the Hyatt is back in the game.
    On a side note McCormick & Schmick is a Portland based company.

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    • Sorry, you are right about that.
      I’ll fix

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  4. What got me about the Brasserie and its various incarnations was the decor. There was just something about the interior and the furnishings that was so impersonal, corporate, and, well, soul-less, that I never made a connection after the first time. Maybe it reminded me of all those rooms in which I used to stay that smelled of stale smoke covered over with air freshner, generic landscape prints on the walls, and flowered polyester bed spreads.

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  5. Those crispy green beans are so dang good!

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    • …and stolen right from Zin in Healdsburg (though I’m sure they’re not the first to do it).

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