Bruno’s on Fourth | Santa Rosa


Bruno’s on Fourth is what Applebee’s can only aspire to: Good eating in the neighborhood.

The tiny 38-seat restaurant is a blip on the local food radar…unless you’re in Bruno’s inner circle.  But start asking around and you’re bound to find a devotee. Ask where to get the best biscuits and gravy in the North Bay and there’s little argument that this brunch-time hotspot is THE place to go.

It may come as little surprise that a restaurant with such a low-profile has a former Bohemian Club chef at its helm. Rick Bruno, who is a constant quiet presence in the small kitchen and dining room has also worked with Gary Danko at Chateau Souverain. His style: New
American comfort food. That translates to a melting pot of culinary genres — from burgers and pulled pork to hoisin ribs, ravioli and crab cakes — that find commonality in their universal homeyness.

The basic menu has remained pretty constant since opening in 2007, giving Bruno’s a comfortable ease with the standards while offering up daily bruschetta, soup and entree specials.

Best bet: Flat Iron steak with blue cheese butter ($16.75) that will have you mopping up the rich pan sauce with anything in sight — including leftover bread, fingers and possibly your neighbor’s tie. It’s that good. BiteClub also gives a thumbs up to the pulled pork and cabbage slaw with jalapeno aioli
($11.95) with a nice squishy bun and the perfect amount of kick. A generous amount of fries make for a hearty lunch.

Also on the menu: Ricky’s hoisin ribs, the wedge BLT salad, crab and shrimp cakes, and a half-pound cheeseburger ($10.95). Dinner includes has many of the same items as lunch, but kicks things up with a daily fish special, goat cheese ravioli, fish and chips, braised lamb shanks and ahi tuna tartare.

Bruno’s really shines for brunch, served only on Sunday from 9am to 2pm, with what BiteClub Jr. says are the best biscuits and gravy he’s ever had. This, from a child who spent the summer in Tennessee eating biscuits and gravy.  The dish is rich beyond words, studded with big chunks of sausage and creamy gravy. Dungeness Crab Benedict ($15.95) is a special splurge with tasty bits of crab swimming in a nicely acidic Hollandaise and perfectly cooked eggs. Homefries are carefully crafted to be crispy outside and soft inside without all the grease.

Insiders know the best table in the house is in the right corner with the window-seat. It’s also fun to sit at the bar and watch what’s happening in the kitchen. With just a handful of tables, however, things can get tight on busy evenings and Sunday mornings
You’ll find that most of the folks inside seem to know their way around the menu and the repeat business speaks volumes to Bruno’s consistency and comfort-appeal as a friendly neighborhood eatery. The kind you actually want to eat at.

Bruno’s on Fourth, 1226 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa, 707.569.8222. Open
for lunch Tues-Friday, 11am to 3pm; dinner Tues-Thurs 5-9pm, Fri-Sat
5-9:30pm, Sunday brunch 9am to 2pm.

Brunos on Urbanspoon

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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22 Comments

  1. We have eaten at Bruno’s many times and are constantly surprised by the variety of specials from fresh salmon to rack of lamb with a wine reduction sauce. I love the pulled pork sandwich for lunch and the flat iron w/blue cheese butter at dinner time. Great wine list and ” Thanks ” Kathy, Tanya, Brandon & Rick for the excellent job you guys do !!!

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  2. Bruno’s is an absolute Santa Rosa FAV! Every meal I have had there (which is about 15 so far) has been over the top. Great atmosphere, excellent wine list, personable owner and staff – yup, I’d wait in line to eat there anytime!

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  3. Wow, that’s totally not the experience we had with the biscuits and gravy. What we had was really creamy and well-balanced with a ton of sausage flavor. I usually feel like biscuits and gravy tend to be too watery and floury and we thought this was definitely the best in the area.
    But honey, as one southern/Midwestern girl to another you know as well as I do that the best biscuits and gravy in California are gonna be the ones we make at home. We’ll keep lookin’ though!

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  4. I’m going to be a selfish jerk for a moment and say: Don’t go to Bruno’s it’s awful. Worst ever. Yucky, yucky, yucky. And yeah- SUPER expensive!
    *Phew! That oughta hold ‘em. More for me….*

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  5. I’ve eaten here a few times, mostly for Sunday brunch. Each time I’ve made it a point to order something different. The best item on the menu is the “veggie” omelette. BUT for all you Biscuits & Gravy people… I have to say that Bruno’s is NOT the place, but that would depend on your perception of the perfect Biscuits & Gravy. Bruno’s version is runny and oily. Some may like this. I however prefer a bit of consistancy (probably more flour and FLAVOR) to the gravy, the amount of sausage pieces is perfect, but I just can’t get into the oily base of the gravy. I spent many years in Alabama and Ohio, where Biscuits & Gravy is a TRUE ART. Also, the potatoes are way too garlicky… and (yes, there is another gripe) the service, is soooooo slow!!!!!!!!!!! Always know that when you go here for brunch you will spend at LEAST 1.5 – 2 hours!! Heather, please find this “country girl” some REAL biscuits & gravy that Grandma used to make :o)

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  6. Jack, I will try it again. Maybe I just went on a bad day(every restaurant has them) or maybe the regular chef was out or something. If I have breakfast again I’ll definitely specify sausage gravy(that’s what you mean by good gravy on the biscuits and gravy right? Sausage gravy? Not brown gravy like I got on my chicken fried steak.) Or maybe we’ll try it for dinner. Every place deserves a second chance(unless it is completely disgusting, which Bruno’s wasn’t when we visited, only sub-par).

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  7. have eaten dinner there several times and all but one dish was very good and reasonably priced….however on nearly every occasion they did not have whatever wine we ordered from the small wine list and this was annoying

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  8. It’s hard to spell tchotchke correctly in english when there is no one “correct” spelling. You may have noticed that many Yiddish words have a variety of spellings. This is because the more-or-less standard YIVO transliteration is often not used for words that are familiar in English. For example, you are probably familiar with the the word “chutzpah”, and regard it as the correct spelling. That is despite the fact that the standard YIVO transliteration for the same word is “khutspe”. For many Yiddish words, the correct spelling is the one the speaker is most familiar with. To see several of the alternative spellings of tchotchke see here.
    I am pretty sure, however, that “Volkswagen” would be preferred over “Volkswagon” by almost everyone ;^)

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  9. Bruno’s is one of my favorite places in town for brunch. It is a little more expensive than the other places I frequent, but it’s well worth the extra $. I do believe they have the BEST eggs florentine and potatoes in town. The hollandaise sauce is perfect, a little lemony, not TOO thick and heavy, but not watery either…delish. The potatoes are so crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, yum, I usually skip the potatoes but not at Brunos. I’ve been there several times and have always had excellent experiences, except for one time, when Rick was not there and they had a new chef filling in…I think he was a bit overwhelmed…but our waitress was SO appalled when they realized that our meal was not up to the normal standard that she comped our entire meal. Every restaurant has a bad day every now and then, and the way a restaurant deals with a customer’s disappointment says a lot. And I want to reiterate that this only happened once, and I only mention it to point out that these are decent people who value attentive, caring service and GREAT food.

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  10. Kvig…Good call! I have been in the industry for almost 5 years now, still new, but definately have learned the hardships. SUPPORT YOUR LOCALS

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  11. $80 for 4?! Heather, you surprise me by complaining about this! That is a mere $20 a person for a fancy brunch in a very nice place. Nowadays you can easily spend that for four people at any number of supposed “cheap” greasy places around town. As a respected member of the food community, you should encourage diners to patronize their local restaurants, remembering that the cost of food (for restaurant owners) and the cost of doing business for all small business owners has risen exponentially! Let’s support our small business owners and if we have complaints about the high price of food….let’s not shoot the messenger!

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    • I’m looking forward to trying Bruno’s, and will likely stop in after checking out the new Goodwill on 4th.

      I also like the Foster’s Freeze just 1 1/2 block East, for the best soft serve ice cream in town.

      For biscuits, so far the “sides,” as in Parkside and Hillside, have been a little on the dense side. This may be from using healthy fats instead of lard. Now I’ll try Bruno’s, and hope they are light as a feather and bad for me at the same time.

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  12. This is my favorite hideaway to take a lady on a date. Intimate, cozy, great servers, linen napkins, incredible food and a reasonable price. I can’t think of any negatives. People don’t know about their Sunday breakfast. I’ve been trying to keep that a secret. I actually went on a search for a better bisquit and gravy. I found a few dang good ones, but either the bisquit or the gravy wasn’t up to par. Flavorful, smooth and big chunks of meat on a fresh made bisquit. (yum) Vince, you really need to try it again. Thank you Rich. Keep up the good work.

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  13. You should learn to spell tchotchkes correctly.

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  14. I don’t know where you ate Vince, but I doubt it was Brunos. I went looking all over town for better gravy than Ricks, and there is none. This is a great place to take a date. Small, intimate, linen napkins, personable servers, increditible food at a reasonable price. My favorite place. Thanks Rick.

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  15. I don’t know where you ate Vince, but I doubt it was Brunos. I went looking all over town for better gravy than Ricks, and there is none. This is a great place to take a date. Small, intimate, linen napkins, personable servers, increditible food at a reasonable price. My favorite place. Thanks Rick.

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  16. My favorite restaurant in town by far! My husband and I really enjoy this place. Although I must admit, we have a rule between ourselves and the few local folks we’ve turned on to the place… only bring your out-of-town friends (hey, we don’t like lines either — although this place would be well worth any wait). The chef is amazing (we are big fans, Rick, your food is a little piece of heaven), the staff is awesome (thank you, Tanya)… LOVE IT!

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  17. Great ribs and the best chicken sandwich in town. At lunch it’s a hard choice between the ribs, the chicken and the pulled pork sandwich. Dinner specials are the way to go too – always delicious and reasonable.

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  18. Oh man, now you’ve let the cat out of the bag! My secret hideout is no longer a secret. STAY AWAY – it’s too expensive for all you whiners. But in the interest of seeing their business continue, you can’t find better value for your money around here. Sorry to hear about your dissatisfaction, Vince, but that just leaves more for me!

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  19. Man, sorry to hear that Vince. We’re usually on the same page. I just added a line I forgot about the prices. They are steep.

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  20. I tried Bruno’s and was unimpressed with the food(for breakfast at least). I got chicken fried steak and eggs(with brown gravy. Who puts brown gravy on chicken fried steak?) and my wife got some sort of Benedict-style concoction. Both of our dishes were mediocre and not cooked properly. And then we got the check, way overpriced. I don’t think I’ll be going back.

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  21. We love Brunos! Business Lunch Meeting? Perfect. Romantic Dinner? No problem! Dinner with the kids? Score! Great wine list with interesting offerings, a personable chef that walks through the dining room and a wife/partner that has been in the business as well. The Brunos have brought to the neighborhood what we in Santa Rosa deserve: A place we can afford to be a “regular”, outstanding food quality, interesting menu and friendly service. I’m happy they have the recognition, but now I will have to call for a reservation! — A Devotee

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