Tag Archives: Healdsburg restaurant

Lamb Shank (Ralph’s Bistro, Healdsburg CA)

Lamb Shank

On any given winter evening, I’m somewhat prone to order hearty things like ossobuco or lamb shank for dinner. It’s superb comfort food and, in most good Italian, Continental, or New American restaurants, it’s a safe bet. Ralph’s Bistro serves up a very good lamb shank, with well-integrated flavors and decent portions for the price. It wasn’t on par with their gigantic and delicious duck confit, but still a solid choice. 

Lamb Shank, Bistro Ralphs Healdsburg CA
Lamb Shank, Bistro Ralphs Healdsburg CA

The Spot: Ralph’s Bistro, Healdsburg CA

A lot of really good restaurants survive in Healdsburg and, while others may get the notoriety, Bistro Ralph’s unpretentious vibe and unbelievably good martinis keep locals recommending it to tourists who weren’t savvy enough to make reservations at Cyrus a month in advance. It’s a bit narrow and, like many other local restaurants, a bit noisier than it should be, but it serves solid fare at hearty portions for the prices. The only downside was the service; our waitress was distracted and just let us alone too long. Thankfully, another waiter noticed and picked up her slack, His smiles and friendly personality dispelled the specter of our irritations, which were beginning to curl around us like forlorn Japanese ghouls. Or maybe the second martini did it. 

THE GRADE: Very Good

THE DAMAGE: $27

THE SKINNY: BISTRO RALPH
109 Plaza Street, Healdsburg CA
Phone: (707) 433-1380
Website: www.bistroralph.com (Note: only basic info online to date; no seasonally updated menu)
Hours:Lunch 11:30 – 2:30 (Mon-Sat); Dinner 5:30 – 9:00 (Mon-Thurs) – 9:30 Friday & Saturday; closed Sundays.

Bistro Ralph on Urbanspoon

DUCK CONFIT

DUCK CONFIT (roasted duck confit)

THE DISH: ROASTED DUCK CONFIT

Favorite of Francophiles, duck confit is made from the duck leg, which is salt-cured, then slowly cooked in an oven at low temperature so it poaches in its own fat. The curing usually takes a couple days, and the slow-poach roasting can vary from 2 to 10 hours. It’s often served at room temperature or below over green salad, but I far prefer the version served hot.

Roasted Duck Confit, Bistro Ralphs, Healdsburg CA
Roasted Duck Confit, Bistro Ralphs, Healdsburg CA.

Bistro Ralph’s roasted duck confit is a generous portion (two legs, not one), and the meat peels gracefully off the leg bone.  The richness of the duck is well balanced with perfect polenta and duck jus in a nice wide bowl, making a perfectly hearty winter meal. The addition of the huckleberries, to me, was entirely unnecessary because they just weren’t integrated well. Nonetheless, it didn’t interfere with the excellence of the dish. I’d have to say this was among the best duck confit dishes I’ve had in the past 3 years.

THE SPOT: BISTRO RALPH, HEALDSBURG CA

A lot of really good restaurants survive in Healdsburg and, while others may get the notoriety, Bistro Ralph’s unpretentious vibe and unbelievably good martinis keep locals recommending it to tourists who weren’t savvy enough to make reservations at Cyrus a month in advance. It’s a bit narrow and, like many other local restaurants, a bit noisier than it should be, it serves solid fare at hearty portions for the prices.

THE GRADE: EXCELLENT (4 out of 5)

THE DAMAGE: $27

THE SKINNY: BISTRO RALPH
109 Plaza Street, Healdsburg CA
Phone: (707) 433-1380
Website: www.bistroralph.com (Note: only basic info online to date; no seasonally updated menu)

Hours: Lunch 11:30 – 2:30 (Mon-Sat); Dinner 5:30 – 9:00 (Mon-Thurs) – 9:30 Friday & Saturday; closed Sundays.

Bistro Ralph on Urbanspoon