Lisa Hemenway's Bistro
We drove a short way from Petaluma and found a warm and cozy European style bistro at the gate of the wine country, Santa Rosa. Lisa hemenway greeted us as if we were some of her loyal and dedicated customers who she had pleased for the last 16 years.
It always amazes us to find a restaurant that has survived the test of time. The common denominator is always gourmet cuisine aka good food and attention to detail. In this case you could tell that it was also a labor of love.Lisa's heart and soul are reflected in every aspect of her restaurant. she chatted with us about her career and travels in the far east and how it influenced her cooking style. it was very fasinating and the sparkle in her eyes made us understand her passion for the business. A signiture piece for her bistro and perfect for the wine country was presented to our table. pure spring water with a sprig of mint in a wine bottle.
We ordered and were quickly served some wines by the glass. We tasted the Steele Cuvee Chardonnay, Murphy Goode Chardonnay and the Carmenet Dynamite Merlot- all were aromatic and tasty yet moderately priced.
The wine list, winner for the fifth consecutive yearof the "Award of Excellence" from the Wine Spectator contained some of our favorites, including Chalone Estate '97 Chardonnay, Jade Mountain Mouvedre '97, Chalk Hill '95 Estate Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon, Mayo '97 Carneros Sangiacomo Pinot Noir, and Sherrer '97 Zinfandel, something for everyone.
Now for some of our favorite dishes.
Crab fritters- with green papaya salad and Sambal aioli- a specialty that we enjoyed for both its beautiful presentation and pleasing flavors, this starter keeps the loyal clientelle coming back for more.
Hanoi spring rolls- with mint,cilantro,rice noodles & chili dipping sauce- this sweet and spicy dish is a perfect example of the asian influence and is a must .
Soup du Jour
Hazelnut mushroom, we love mushroom soup and this was a perfect beginning for our dinner with beautiful subtle and rich flavor.
Bouillabaise with Rouille- this southern style entre will not disappoint even the heartiest of appetites
Lisa's Coq au Vin- with mushrooms and pearl onions-french by heritage with a sonoma county influence.
Lamb loin- grilled with rosemary and dijon with chevre gratin and haricot verte- a taste sensation
Chicken and lemongrass hash- with jasmine rice and chile mint sauce- this signiture dish was reccommended by our waitress, Angela. she told us that her regular customers would revolt if this lovely entre was ever eliminated from the menu-now we understand why-it was superb.
All the desserts are created fresh daily. They were all wonderful! the lemon gateau was our favorite as we are true lemon lovers.
Chocolate Grand Marnier cake
Espresso cream-baked cream custard.
Pumpkin crème brulee · lemon gateau- citrus cake filled with lemon custard.
Our waitress, Angela, has worked at lisa's for four years. She had a lovely personality and a keen sense for recommending the food paired with wine and her favorite course, Dessert. We really enjoyed her company and guidance.
Lisa Hemenway's Bistro has a solid and well-deserved reputation as the premiere restaurant in Santa Rosa. a blend of classic French, Mediterranean and Asian influences are brought together under the guidance of Lisa and her chiefs, Nancy Bbrumner and Chris Dupont. Eat here once and you will always look forward to returning!