A Michelin One Star Experience…In Beautiful Bodega Bay
Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant – Bodega Bay, CA
Visited: May 29, 2016
If you drive by Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant in the pretty, coastal town of Bodega Bay, you’d be hard-pressed to guess that you were passing an establishment that has been awarded a coveted Michelin star. As a matter of fact, you might not even see it, as it’s tucked away just off the road.
Back in 2008, it seems that Terrapin Creek’s owners Andrew Tuong and his wife, Liya Lin (both of them accomplished chefs), were a bit burned out by the San Francisco restaurant scene where they had worked for year. So the two moved to Bodega Bay (about a 90-minute drive north of San Francisco)…
Terrapin Creek is one of only three restaurants in Sonoma County to be awarded a Michelin star in 2015; the others being the Madrona Manor in Healdsburg and the Farmhouse Inn in Forestville, both of which we dined at a long, long time ago.
In one article, Truong was quoted as saying, “How’d we get a Michelin star? I don’t know, but I’m happy about it. We’re just doing our own thing up here.” And that “thing” is preparing some great meals for its customers in a comfortable setting.
Over Memorial Day weekend, Tracy and I joined our friends Kim and Mary (along with Mary’s sister Francie) for dinner at Terrapin Creek. The restaurant touts itself as “a casual neighborhood spot where friends and neighbors can gather to enjoy great local and international cuisine.” It certainly lived up to its advanced billing.
We were a little early for our 8 p.m. reservations, but fortunately some fast diners meant our table was awaiting. Walking past the open kitchen…
I started with a delicious Cavatelli Pasta; beef short ribs, roasted carrots & mushrooms, green garlic and pistachio pesto ($14). It sounded like a heavy starter, but it was just the right proportion (you could also have a double order as an entrée if you wanted). It was a “Wow” dish.
Kim can’t seem to help ordering a Caesar Salad when he dines out. This contained Eggless Dressing, Romaine Lettuce, Parmesan Cheese and Croutons ($10) and was quite good because Kim could not refrain from saying, “Hail Caesar” after eating it.
Now it was on to the entrées, and none of them disappointed. Kim, Tracy and I got into the Memorial Day mood with Liberty…well, a Liberty Farms Duck Breast; Shitake mushrooms, fingerling potatoes and sautéed cabbage ($30). The veggie combination, reminiscent of Asian food, was very, very tasty.
Finally, Francie decided on the Lamb meatballs; creamy polenta, Swiss chard and Cremini mushrooms in a tomato-curry sauce ($26). This was the only dish that slightly missed the mark. Francie thought the curry taste was lacking in this dish. I guess you could say it didn’t curry flavor (or perhaps not).
I ordered a delicious buttermilk panna cotta with strawberries and basil (a perfect end to the evening). On this evening other desserts included crème fraiche cheese cake, chocolate pot de crème and a Meyer lemon tart. Yes, I wanted them all!
In addition to its impeccable service, our dinner at Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant turned out to be a terrific feast. The restaurant is only open Thursday through Monday evenings (advanced reservations would be a good idea). Whether its deserving of a Michelin star (as for me, I never tire of a Michelin), well, you can make up your own mind, but if you find yourself on the gorgeous California coast north of San Francisco, a stop at Terrapin Creek is certainly worth a slight detour for a delightful evening.
mai tai tom rating…4.5 Maitais (out of 5)
Terrapin Creek Cafe Restaurant
1580 Eastshore Road
Bodega Bay, California
Open: 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thursday – Sunday