Kenwood Restaurant Re-opening

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It’s an almost uncomfortable moment when Chef Max Schacher, the longtime toque of the iconic Kenwood Restaurant, lifts a glass to the new owners and young chef taking over his restaurant. “Sante!” we say, clinking wine glasses, but Schacher quickly disavows me of any feelings that the moment is bittersweet. “I think it’s great!” he says of new owner Bill Foss (of Fish in Sausalito, sustainable seafood company TwoXSea and the recently-opened Canetti’s in Forestville) and young chef Anthony Paone. And it’s not hard to see why.

The entire focus for the new venture is an ode to Valley of the Moon’s colorful history, from the indigenous Wappo tribe to Spanish settlers, Buena Vista founder Agoston Haraszthy de Mokesa to the restaurant’s former life as “Bunny’s Fried Chicken”. Both Foss and Paone have painstakingly researched everything about the area, incorporating foraged herbs, a Hungarian-inspired beef stew, trout from Foss’ McFarland Springs trout farm, local rabbit sausage and “Bunny Wings” (fried rabbit forelegs)–a nod to Bunny’s on their proposed opening menu.

BiteClub got a first look at several dishes on a pre-opening night supper, and they’re stunners–even in previews.

Shying away from now-meaningless words like “farm to table” they’re simply calling the food “Sonoma cuisine”. Favorites included duck and hominy soup with a poached duck egg; a refined yet earthy rabbit sausage using both meat and offal; a take on cioppino that will ruin you for any other; fingerling potatoes with trout roe and sour cream and Foss’ pink trout with cornbread stuffing–destined to be a signature dish. Don’t get too attached to anything, however, since Paone is dedicated to changing things up frequently.

Of course, regulars will notice plenty of changes, including an updated interior, bocce court and outdoor pond which now sits where the giant metal wings once hovered outside.  Still around, however, is the whimsical animals-in-chef-hats freize that once graced the historic Poodle Dog restaurant in San Francisco.

The restaurant is in soft-opening as of this week, with a grand-opening in the coming weeks. 9900 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood. Check out pictures of my meal at BiteClubEats.com.

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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12 Comments

  1. What are the hours? We would like to visit on a Sunday perhaps.

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  2. Totally disappointed. Mini portions. Hostess came late dressed like she works at Denny’s.

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  3. I went by on Tues. (closed) to look at the menu. NO MUSSELS!!! Wow! I really think they are missing the boat on that decision. Will give it a try, but hope that the chef and owner get the message on the mussels

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  4. Was hopeful for new menu and redo of bar area. New menu a definite upgrade.

    Suggestions: (and I realize that this may take time due to budget)

    Bathrooms are too visible, don’t need bright lights with two doors into hallway. Change to one door and dim the hall area.

    Bar area too bright, get dimmers on a timer or something so that they kick in early.
    Bar counter still the original, awkward to eat at. Smooth without the raised edge would be great. Never liked the atmosphere in there before, was really hoping for a complete redo.

    Looking forward to next visit, one of the best locations in the valley and really want them to succeed.

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  5. Please, please, please tell us you still have mussels on the menu. Our friends come from far away places just for the mussels.

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  6. hope we can bring back the wings: awsome sculpture

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  7. The new pond looks great! Excellent job Sweetwater Landscape!

    I’ll have to try and make it out there to try the new food. Been hearing good things

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  8. I worked briefly at Bunny’s Country Kitchen in the late 1970′s and we never served rabbit of any kind much less fried rabbits’ feet. Fried chicken was their claim to fame, served family style. Rabbit’s feet were often kept on keychains as good luck tokens.

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    • I loved Bunny’s Country Kitchen, and I agree with you Larueen B.!

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    • Do you know of any restaurant that serves fried chicken even close to Bunny’s Country Kitchen? Any recipe? Who is the nice woman who owned Bunny’s?

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    • Bunny’s Country Kitchen was awesome. I lived in Kenwood in the mid 1970′s and went there many times. I have not found a place like it since. Sigh….. Bring back the original Bunnys!

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  9. Foss owns canettis in Forestville?

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