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Friday, December 12, 2008

REVIEW: Terrapin Creek Cafe/Restaurant of Bodega Bay

TERRAPIN CREEK CAFE in Bodega Bay is just down the hill from Hwy 1 on the north side of the town of Bodega Bay. Turn west when you see Second Wind (kites & candy, etc.) on the corner…you'll see the restaurant on your right next to Local Color gallery.

Terrapin Creek of Bodega Bay - Tasteful & Serene

If you’re looking for a TERRAPIN you look for a creek that is found along the eastern and southern part of the U. S. that has both fresh and brackish water. There you will find the little Terrapin turtle that was given an Algonquian Indian name meaning “a turtle that is very edible”. But if you are on the West Coast of the U. S. you can find TERRAPIN CREEK in Bodega Bay. It is a restaurant located at 1580 Eastshore Road which is the road you turn on to go to Bodega Head. Now I didn’t find any turtle soup on the menu but they serve a Mediterranean Fish Stew. On a night I was dining there a customer at the next table told the owner, “If you didn’t have anything on the menu but this it would be worth coming here over and over again.” Now I haven’t tried the Fish Stew myself but I intend to.

The new owners of this cozy restaurant are Andrew and Liya Truong. In college Andrew, a laid back easy going lad from Georgia was a computer science major and Liya, who was a high energy New York girl was getting her degree in economics. But their interest in cooking took them to Culinary School and when they completed that they set out on a four year plan. For the first part of the plan they drove 40 hours from the East to San Francisco to find an apartment and jobs. They both worked in various restaurants, mostly typical Chinese restaurants and learned as much as they could about the restaurant business from – pardon the expression – soup to nuts. The end of the four year plan was to own their own restaurant so when they found the SeaWeed Cafe in Bodega Bay advertised for sale, they bought it. Liya does most of the cooking and makes the pastries and Andrew handles the soups and sauces and works the front of the house.

The cuisine is mainly California style food with an Asian influence. The menu follows the seasonal vegetables and fruits from the area as they like to take advantage of the fresh produce which they pick up daily on their commute from Sebastopol to Bodega Bay. For example they had gravenstein apple tart and a sweet potato pie for dessert the day of this interview. The atmosphere is comfortable and casual and becomes a little more formal in the evening with candles and fresh flowers. The service is attentive but Andrew says he tries to provide the best service while not interfering with the customers dining pleasure.

Liya and Andrew do all the preparation and cooking and handle the lunch themselves, but they have three employees that help during dinner. The menu has nine items for Starters, several of which are very unique. I had Manila Clams & Homemade Chorizo served on a small plate with creamy Yukon Potatoes, Smoked Pepper Aioli, and a Fennel White Wine Broth for $12. Now that is something you don’t see every day. They also serve Artisan Bread with McEvoy Ranch Organic Olive Oil.

The dinner menu is small but well rounded with options for different pallets. Entrees include the Mediterranean Fish Stew $25, Homemade Pappardelle Pasta with Tomato Braised Beef Sugo, sautéed Tuscan Kale and Parmesan Cheese $20, Liberty Farms Duck Breast with Butternut Squash Puree, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Maple Glazed Bacon in a Red Wine Onion Jus $25, Organic Soba Noodles with Herb-crusted Potobello Mushrooms and Spinach in a Curry-tomato broth $18, and Slow-Cooked Sonoma Lamb Shank with roasted tomatoes and eggplant, with creamy Farro and Feta Cheese for $26.

The lunch menu along with the homemade soup and salads has a sausage & white bean Cassoulet $12, Nicoise Egg Salad Sandwich $9, Zoe’s Prosciutto Panini $11, Pappardelle Pasta $14, and of course, Mediterranean Fish Stew $21. If you just want to snack you can get a selection of local cheese served with seasonal fruit and toasted baguettes for $13 to enjoy with a glass of wine from a very extensive wine list of mostly local wines but also get Sake or beer. The desserts carefully prepared by Liya are $8.

Currently they are open from Thursday through Sunday from 11:00 to 2:30 and 4:30 to 9:00. They are considering adding Wednesday, but it would be a good thing to call ahead of time. 1580 Eastshore Road, Bodega Bay. 707 875.2700.
Also you might want to check their web site