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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Seahorse Restaurant: Newest Dining in Guerneville

The Russian River area has a new player amongst it’s several good restaurants, the SEAHORSE Restaurant. Jim Harkey who owns the Cape Fear restaurant in Duncan Mills and his partner, Daniel MagD’Leno have opened a new restaurant located at the Russian River Resort (Triple R) at 16390 Fourth Street in downtown Guerneville.

Born in Cape Fear, North Carolina, Jim started to cook at the age of five making biscuits and gravy with his mother, and continued learning as he grew up, preparing the clams and crabs and other seafood his fisherman father brought home. In 1989 he visited Sonoma County to taste the wine, fell in love with the river, and ultimately opened a restaurant in Sebastopol and Cape Fear in Duncan Mills. Jim emphasizes the importance of all aspects of the business which includes putting together a menu with a distinctive combination of foods, cooking with the best ingredients, creating specialty desserts, and of equal importance, developing an atmosphere with customer friendly staff that provides excellent service. He has incorporated the traditional southern hospitality in his restaurants. (As an example, 3 or 4 years ago I was having lunch at Cape Fear with my daughter and we were talking about it being my birthday that week. At the end of my lunch the server put a piece of cake with a candle on it in front of me. Surprised, I asked my daughter if she had ordered that. Not the case, the server heard it was my birthday and just brought me a piece of cake.)

The past four years Jim and Daniel have enjoyed traveling, visiting North Carolina or New York or Paris. But now they are committed to working seven days a week in the two restaurants. The SEAHORSE brings some of the special salad dressings and seafood dishes from CAPE FEAR but the atmosphere is different and the menu reflects a different dining experience. For starters, the Triple R Resort has a full bar so dining patrons can order drinks and wine to go with their meal.

For dinner there is a variety of small plates including always popular Crab Cakes for $9.50. The larger portion ‘Hot Plates’ served with salad and bread offer ten selections ranging from $16 to $24.50. Examples are: Grilled Razorback Ribs with Fries and Pineapple Coleslaw for $18; Big Lamb Shank $19; New York Sirloin steak $24; Seahorse Shellfish Bucket – shrimp, clams, scallops & mussels in spicy chili-garlic broth with Linguini $24 or Big Family Fried Chicken – boneless Breast and Thigh served with Peach Ketchup Dip, watermelon pickle, fried and coleslaw for $18. Additionally there are Burgers and Salad such as Avocado Seafood Remoulade – shrimp, scallops, mussel, green onion & red pepper in Lemon-Mustard Mayonnaise with Cucumber, Tomato and Olives for $14.75

Lunch menu has Salad Plates, Sandwich Plates, Hot Plates and Small Plates. Too much to mention but it does include a Fried Oyster Poor Boy with fries or salad for $13.50 – My Favorite. The Breakfast menu features five varieties of Benedict’s plus other egg dishes and a variety of Omelette Plates and selection of Waffles. The waffles are served with Maple Syrup and Orange Butter and egg plates served with home fries and toast. The price range from waffles to benedict is $6.50 to $13.50. Partner Daniel is the expert on desserts such as: Dark Chocolate Pat’de’crème, Buttermilk Apple Cake, Lemon Tarts, or Sourdough Bread Pudding with Crème anglaise, all at $7.50. I haven’t covered the wine list as that comes from the bar operated by the Resort.

SEAHORSE is open seven nights a week for dinner from 5:30 to 9:30. They are also open Friday through Monday for breakfast and lunch: Mondays and Fridays 10:30 to 2:30 and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 to 3:00. For more information or reservations call 707 869 3333. The restaurant is on Fourth Street which is 2 short blocks off Main Street. I would put this one on your list to try.