Friday, October 14th, 2011
Hole in the Wall Restaurant isn’t the kind of place you stumble upon. Snugged into the quiet corner of a small Sebastopol retail mall, you could grab dozens of lattes at the nearby Starbucks and never notice it. Which would be a shame, because the pumpkin scone you’re cramming into your face can’t hold a candle to Chef Adam Beer’s shortrib hash just steps away. Or biscuits and mushroom gravy. Or spiced apple crepes.
With word of mouth praise held close to the vest by locals and foodies who’ve passed along the discovery of Beer’s tiny Gravenstein Ave. restaurant, Hole in the Wall has been under-the-radar for since opening in June, 2011. Grab a table, however, and a regular will start singing the praises of whatever they’re eating, and possibly even offer up a bite. It’s that kind of place.
Quiet and efficient, Beers steadfastly mans the restaurant’s open kitchen through breakfast, lunch and dinner (they’re only open for breakfast and lunch on Monday and Tuesday), putting a deliberate touch on each dish. That, of course, can mean cooling your heels for a while, but invariably it’s worth the a little patience.
A longtime line cook who moved his way up from stirring gumbo roux to sautee chef at the French Garden and most recently as a chef at The Village Bakery, Beers has kept his menu at Hole in the Wall simple and comforting. Breakfast is a strong suit, with lox-studded omelets ($8.50), buttermilk pancakes ($7.75), homemade biscuits and gravy ($5.50) Challah French Toast with candied pecans and fresh fruit ($7.75) and an authentic German Dutch Baby—a baked pancake with caramelized sugar and apples ($7.75).
Lunch and dinner share a menu, with Beer’s signature gumbo (a traditional Cajun version with Andouille sausage and plenty of smokey flavor, $8.50); excellent burgers, sweet and savory crepes (buckwheat with chicken, spinach, caramelized onions and Swiss, $8.95). Coconut Curry Cream Pasta with penne, cranberries, snow peas,tomatoes and almonds tastes better than it sounds, with sweet, earthy, exotic and savory flavors. It’s not haute, but it’s comforting. Don’t miss the baked Mac and Cheese, whose bowl runneth over with five kinds of cheese: Cheddar, Swiss, fontina, blue and a dusting of crispy Parmesan. Add truffle oil if you dare. A bowl of fries with fresh minced garlic and Parmesan are a solid addition to pretty much anything.
Beers shows his chops with dessert crepes ($6.50) recently featuring Gravenstein apples cooked with brown sugar, butter, homemade caramel and caramel whipped cream.
Hole in the Wall Restaurant, 972 Gravenstein Hwy. S, Suite 100, Sebastopol, 861-3777. Open 7 days a week from 7 am to 2:30 pm on Mondays and Tuesdays and 7 am to 9 pm Wednesdays through Sundays,