Chalkboard Restaurant in Healdsburg had its soft opening for their new Library venue this past weekend. Sophisticated yet approachable, this new adventure of Executive Chef Shane McAnelly and General Manager (GM) Sean Coleman continues the well planned and delightfully executed evolution of this culinary treat located in the Hotel Les Mars.
The Library features two tasting menus created by Chef McAnelly. He and his staff employ all the local fresh ingredients available. The herbs and vegetables come largely from the 3 acres of gardens at Chalk Hill Estates winery in Healdsburg, owned by Bill Foley, who also owns the Hotel Les Mars and Chalkboard. The rest of the menu items are sourced locally to allow the kitchen to prepare the freshest small plates possible with seafood, fish, beef, pork and foul. They succeed!
The two tasting menus are a variation with one (Chef's Tasting Menu) including all the various meats, poultry and fish while the other (Chef's Vegetable Tasting Menu) is totally vegetarian. Honestly, the descriptions are so tantalizing that even a die hard carnivore might opt for the vegetable tasting menu.
Each of the two menus includes 8 courses which may actually be a bit more than one can handle. The fixed price menu is $105 per person for either tasting menu. The option is available for pairing of wine (or beer or sake) for each of the courses for an additional charge of $80. Again, The Library team has spent a great deal of time finding just the right pairing to enhance the overall flavor impact on the palate.
Check out the included List and Pictures to get a visual sense of what is going on here. Just know that you can place yourself in the hands of these magicians, let yourself go, sit back and enjoy the flavorful flights of food fancy that will find there way to your mouth.
McAnelly intends for the Library to be open on weekends so call for reservations 707-433-4311. The weekend of April 25th will be the public opening of this new adventure. This could be a tough ticket so plan ahead.
It's the food baby!
Chalkboard is located at 29 North Street in Healdsburg, CA a block north and west of the main plaza at Hotel Les Mars. The restaurant is serving dinner seven days a week and weekend lunch service.
Chalkboard Restaurant: Monday – Sunday, 5pm – close
Bar: Monday – Sunday, 4pm – close
The Library: Weekends (Call for reservations)
Lunch: Saturday/Sunday 11:30am - 5pm
Chalkboard in Healdsburg has been open since May 2013. Located in Hotel Les Mars, it has slowly and deliberately added additional seating and new spaces to accommodate the new and repeat diners who have made it successful. The Library room is the newest of these additions.
Fava bean Mousse
This delightful Blini topped with Fava Bean Mousse, Crème Fraîche and Italian Caviar was paired with a perfectly matched Iron Horse Brut. Served on a wine barrel stave to capture the ambiance of Sonoma County wine country.
Chioggia Beet Salad
The Chioggia Beet Salad with Avocado Mousse, Cara Cara Orange and Pistaccio was the first item on the Chef's Vegetable Tasting Menu. Colorful and defined by the various textures. Chef McAnelly loves to surprise your mouth with a bit of crunch.
English Pea Soup
This dish is served in a shot glass in Chalkboard but is tweaked for the Library. Chilled and served with fresh peapods, pea infused ricotta and lemon verbena, this is another example of how Chef is constantly creating variety and delight.
Bacon Consommé was poured hot over a mound of Pork Belly, a 63 degree Quail Egg and Maple Bacon. The surpise was the Belgium Sour Beer that was paired with the dish. Masterful.
The Artichoke Ravioli is not pictured but it was scrumptious prepared with Black Garlic, Grana Padano, Basil and Brown Butter. Pictured here is the Seared Day Boat Scallop. Perfect temperature and served with vailla bean, lardo and carrot sauerkraut.
The Pancetta Wrapped Duck Breast was a favorite for many this evening. It had two components. On the left is the Duck Liver Mousse and on the right is the Duck Breast. Prepared with black olives and sour cherry this is a winner! The wine pairing was excellent and included two Italian red wines.
Wines with the Duck
The 2009 Il Fauno di Arcanum was paired with the Liver Mousse. A good git in both mouth feel and acidity to compliment the mousse. The 2011 Favolalunga was also masterfully matched with the pancetta wrapped Duck Breast.
Grilled Ribeye Steak
Another mouth match made in heaven was Chef's Grilled Ribeye Steak served with yukon gold potates, creamed nettle and bordelaise. Again, perfect temperature and paired with a delightful Syrah.
The Library at Chalkboard is a separate room with exquisite paneling , and other accoutrements that distinguish it from the more contemporary Chalkboard dining room. Sophisticated with seating limited to parties of 6 or less it would be a perfect location for a private gathering of up to 16 guests.
The first of two desserts offered was the Strawberry Souffle. It was both flavorful and airy with a perfect balance of flavors. Accompanied by compressed rhubarb and mascarpone ice cream. Served with a tawny port it was exceptionally delightful.
Shane and Sean
Chef Shane McAnelly (l) and General Manager Sean Coleman (r) have teamed up to make Chalkboard and the Library at Chalkboard in Healdsburg the hot ticket. The patio is being developed to add additional seating year round as it will be heated. This area was formerly the swimming pool for the hotel but it has been filled in.