6948 Sebastopol Road / Sebastopol / 707-829-9500
Category: Italian Neo-Rustico and Brick Oven Pizza
Hours: 5pm – 9pm Thu – Mon D only
Sun Brunch 11:30am – 4pm
Closed: Tue – Wed
Off Street Parking Lot
**** 3/12/12 $$ – $$$
Two restaurants under the same roof with three chefs? One for the Italian, one for the Thai and one for the Pizza oven! Forchetta/Bastoni is the full name (forks and sticks in Italiano). Bastoni is patterned after a Thai noodle bar. Pizza is pizza in anyone’s language! Both restaurants are in the former Pizzavino 707 space in front of the Sebastopol Plaza where the parking lot is located. Bastoni has the added patio area for warm weather dining while Forchetta is facing the Sebastopol Street. Entrance to both restaurants is through the plaza area.
This review is for Forchetta only because even though both restaurants reside under the same roof and are only separated by the immense brick pizza oven, you cannot sit in one side and order food from the other…..mildly dissappointing as that would seem to be the purpose but, for now about the only way to sample both cuisines is to start at the bar with a cocktail or glass of wine, which is on the Bastoni side and sample some of the five starters. From $8 – $12 per order offering curry rice balls, wings, meatballs, naam plate, and thai beef salad. Or, return another time as I plan to do.
The interior of Forchetta is eclectic and charming. Old-world brick (on the walls), reclaimed wood with booths and tables made from salvaged doors and a large innovative/modern chandelier centerpiece made by a local artist, to wall scones made from old wine bottles. Tables are topped with butcher paper and utensils are in a mason jar. Napkins are actually dish towels! Funky chic? I thought so.
After an excellent cocktail in the bar and a good chat with the amicable bartender who gave us the lowdown on the reasoning behind not permitting guests to pick and choose from both cuisines, “because Italian dishes take much longer to prepare”. Technically accurate but, all the more reason to allow some pre-dinner grazing on the Thai side while you wait for your Italian dinner to show up.
But, let’s not be picky. We came for an Italian dinner. The menu was inviting and short. Displaying four Antipasti (starters); four Verdi (greens or, salads); four Pasta/Risotto; three pizza’s; three Al Forno/Alla Griglia (from the oven and from the grill); and, three Dolci (desserts). My kind of menu, uncomplicated. However, that does not describe the dishes within this. This chef takes basic Italian cooking to new heights, with his imaginative ingredients like:
Verdi: Insalata Mista ($9****) daily greens with radish, Pt Reyes blue cheese, olio nuovo and 3-yr old Balsamico vinegar. This is a simple salad but, oh so easy to over dress and ruin the dish. Definite restraint was used in applying the dressing making this one of the better mixed green salads I have had in a while.
Secondo: Risotto di Giorno ($22*****) made fresh daily with whatever ingredients look good to the chef. Today, Chanterelles & Oyster mushrooms with bone marrow and crispy fried procuitto. OMG! If you have read my review of Stark’s Steakhouse in Santa Rosa you will recall my fondness for bone marrow. This dish was incredibly good. Rice cooked perfectly al dente (to the tooth) with excellent flavor and color.
Pizza Course: Pizza Salsiccia ($16****) housemade sausage with pickled peppers and Fontina cheese. Thin, thin, thin crust and ample toppings without smothering the pizza. Very tasty. We boxed up half to take home and continued on our culinary quest.
Primo: Quaglie alla Griglia ($22*****) grilled quail with risotto cake, cherry agra dolce. Wonderfully flavorful dish and the small quail was cooked right to retain it’s juicyness. The cherry sauce complimented the game perfectly. Sardine alla Griglia ($22****) Monterrey sardines (large) with roasted romanesco broccoli and potato salad with mustard. I have not seen large sardines prepared this way outside of Italy! This may not be everyone’s fish dish as it is a strong flavor; not fishy, just robust. Wonderfully grilled and the potato salad with housemade mustard went well with the fish. Roasted veggies always bring out more flavor and this preparation had romanesco as well. Excellent dish.
Dolci: Torte Limone ($8****) housemade Meyer lemon tart. Perfect ending.
Highly recommend this restaurant for a pizza or, a full blown Italian feast.
Get Thee to Forchetta for some rustic Italian cooking.