A Trip to the SHED
Not the woodshed, SHED, a very modern restaurant in Healdsburg.
We’re all so lucky to live here, where there is such a flowering of the culinary arts. I think Main Street in Napa has more great places to eat on one street than anywhere else in the world, and little Healdsburg, north of Santa Rosa, isn’t far behind. Even after the closing of the great Cyrus, Healdsburg is a great destination: Chalkboard, Dry Creek, and now SHED.
Just north of the square, across the street from the hotel that formerly housed Cyrus and is now home to Chalkboard, SHED is a modern new facility housing a market, a butcher shop, a café, a kitchenware store, a gardening store and an ice cream shop, all in one large, airy, open, high-ceilinged room.
The whole place is very upscale. The market sell only the best organic produce and fancy, local gourmet items. This also makes it beautiful.
The butcher shop has obscure, upscale choices like a prosciutto made from pigs fed only acorns. $64/pound. Pigs on a more varied diet produce $34/lb cured ham.
In the kitchenware area you can buy your new bread knife right or left handed.
The garden shop has books on organic beekeeping, obscure seeds, wooden knitting needles and hand dyed imported knitting yarns.
The café has tables both inside and out. An inventive menu features lamb, duck, rabbit, squid and halibut paired with things you never heard of like sunflower seed molé, chilled fennel soup or dulse seaweed. There are plates both large and small, but even the small plates are quite generous.
I started with the apple and sunchoke salad. The sunchoke, also known as the Jerusalem Artichoke, is the root of a species of sunflower which tastes quite like artichoke.
Fair warning: sunchokes can cause immense amounts of gas. You may not be particularly welcome company after enjoying this salad.
Gail found an appetizer that she is still raving about. Spanish white anchovies on toast.
I had the duck breast, served in a huge bowl with sunflower seed molé, summer peppers and papalo (also called summer cilantro or Bolivian coriander).
The duck was just duck. The molé was spicy and interesting. The peppers were too hot for me.
We shared an order of the potatoes.
Potatoes, peppers and aioli served in a heavy frying pan. This is a great side dish for your party to share.
Gail had the rabbit, served with shelling beans, salsa verde and hominy. All the side veggies were served cold, which doesn’t work.
She sent her dish back to be heated, something I’ve never seen her do before.
The rabbit tastes like chicken. Heck, it could be chicken and nobody would be the wiser if they didn’t serve the wings. The beans were a little better once they were heated, but this dish got no prizes from us.
Brad and Kate both ordered the Halibut, and were glad they did. The dish was complex and satisfying, the winner of the evening.
I had an interesting corn custard for dessert, but Gail claimed the prize for best choice when she had the creme fraiche ice cream. Her dessert portion was so good she got another scoop for the road from the ice cream station in the front of the building.
SHED isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty darn good and an interesting and exciting facility to be in. It’s one more reason Healdsburg is a destination for local foodies. I think we would go back, but not order the rabbit.