Michelin takes notice of Petaluma's Swedish success, Stockhome
Petaluma’s Stockhome restaurant has received a Michelin Bib Gourmand, an honor bestowed on restaurants offering, “exceptionally good food at moderate prices.”
The award, created in 1995, is chosen by secret reviewers after careful consideration with the “moderate” pricing being determined by the market the restaurant is in. For the San Francisco bay area, this means a starter, a main and a dessert for $40 or less.
It is somewhat of a more pedestrian alternative to the Michelin Star, an honor that is much more exclusive, but still exciting news for both Stockhome’s newly formed fan base as well as Petaluma as a whole. The honor is not surprising considering the quality of their cuisine.
We personally confirmed that again last weekend when we stopped in for lunch and found it innovative, delicious, and coupled with perfect service.
Figuring we would order some of our old standbys, we saw the outdoor sandwich board on Western Avenue announcing the weekly specials, and it read, “Valcommen! Come try our Fiddle Head Fern.” We were not sure what that meant because we see ferns all the time while out hiking around Petaluma, but knew this had to be something different.
Stockhome’s specials do not last long, so we had to give it a try. One of the nice young ladies behind the counter excitedly educated about this dish that is actually made from locally harvested ferns, prior to the heads opening up and rolling out into what becomes the fern’s fronds. Although I usually avoid veggies, I could not stop eating this one.
I would guess the ferns themselves have little flavor but when cooked in butter and paired with cherry tomatoes and garlic yogurt, it made for quite an innovative and delicious dish.
The specials board inside the restaurant had so many great options that we did not even bother looking at the regular menu, which is yet another Bib Gourmand-worthy feature of Stockhome. There are always new dishes to try, which can make it like a new restaurant every time we visit.
With salmon in season, we also went with the salmon pita, which was incredible. Other specials we had to pass up on included a stone fruit salad, Padron chili with cream sauce, and two breakfast items — a Black Forest ham Benedict and the Stockhome breakfast of bacon, sausage or veggies wrapped in a pita with potatoes.
However, what naturally caught my eye on the specials menu was a burger, the first I have seen on Stockhome’s menu. I was told it will be on the specials menu for the summer, but I hope to convince Chef Roberth to keep it on forever. This burger stacks up against any other in town, and is possibly one of the best I have ever had. And the fries step up to match the quality of the burger.
The base price is $12, which is reasonable for a well-made burger. Cheese adds $1 and an egg or kimchi adds $2. I went with cheese and kimchi, as I have been finding our modern local versions of kimchi much to my liking these days. The Chef’s kimchi is so well pickled that I did not even bother to add the included pickles. It is a great combo and one I will return for again and again.