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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Restaurant Review: Matt’s Real Food BBQ

Matt’s Real Food BBQ
By Benjamynn Gabriel, Occidental Oriented columnist

Just outside of Occidental and Freestone, is a small enclave of establishments — Bill’s Farm Basket, Pony Espresso (they serve fantastic chai), and Real Food BBQ. Owned and operated by Matt Fidler, whose prior Sonoma County bona fides include five years as evening chef during “the golden years” of Lucy’s Café before they expanded, RFBBQ serves some of the best food in the entire county (Michelin-starred restaurants not withstanding)!

There are many reasons to go out of your way to seek out this food, not that it’s really out of your way — as it’s on Bodega Highway to and from civilization for all of West Sonoma County. (For you outside the area — DO GO OUT OF YOUR WAY, it’s worth it!) First and foremost is the quality of the food, not only in ingredients but in the skill & tastiness of preparation.

Almost as important to me, having been a big-city guy all my life, is the (very rare in Sonoma County) variety of menu choices. I never get tired of eating at RFBBQ. For a tiny outdoor hole in the wall, it’s truly astonishing the amount of options. On any given day, the delicious staples include smoked brisket, either in plate, or as a sandwich, soft tacos (our son’s favorite) either vegetarian, or with chicken, seafood, or beef. There’s also always chicken and a quesadilla, with rotating flavors depending on season; butternut squash was a recent joy.

Specials rotate WEEKLY (if you can believe that!) and always include a seafood item, a soup, and a salad. Recent specials: panko-crusted tuna — very moist and amazing, peanut sesame noodles, vegan coconut milk-based curried butternut soup (the same week that squash was featured in the quesadilla); smart use of seasonal foods!

Matt’s inventive format reinforces my long-standing wish for creativity among local restaurants, many of whom have served the same food, year in and year out, for over a decade. Matt really takes advantage of seasonal local produce and fish/meats, and combines things in novel, delicious ways. He even grows much of his own lettuce, herbs, and vegetables. … and ladies, he’s available!

Hours are: Thursday-Sunday open at 11:30a.m.; Thursday, Sunday closed at 3p.m.; Friday, Saturday open until 7p.m.

Bill's Farm BasketAddress:
10315 Bodega Highway
Sebastopol, CA 95472-2912
(707) 829-1777