Friday, March 23, 2007

Bistro Des Copains, Occidental, Sonoma, CA

Très Charmant

picture photograph bistro des copains occidental 2007 copyright of sam breach

A new dining choice in the small Sonoma town of Occidental is Bistrot Des Copains (Fred's translation: 'Buddies Bistro'). As soon as our host for the weekend, Tina Wolsborn, at The Occidental Inn heard we had a Frenchman in our party, she encouraged us to book a table there.

We arrived for their latest reservation at 9pm and the small room was packed and buzzing. Living up to its name - this place is certainly friendly - we were on first name terms with our server and the owner Michele in a matter of minutes.

Our waitress was practising her newly learnt French on Fred. She explained to us that Michele, who only opened the Bistro last summer, had recently closed up shop for a couple of weeks and taken several members of the staff team on an inspirational field trip to France. How cool is that - seriously?

For Francophiles, the choices on the menu are familiar and homey. I started with a Goat cheese in puff pastry with celeriac apple remoulade. I am certainly no mustard whimp but the hot, pungent, eye-watering wholegrain mustard (sourced from Fabrique Delice, I was told) that dressed the celery root, unfortunately overwhelmed everything else on the plate.

My main course of Rabbit braised with a much milder mustard pan sauce and served over wide noodles was far more successful. The rabbit was tender, the portion was generous and the pasta was perfectly al dente.

We washed the meal down with a bottle of 2004 Cuvee Les Petis Plats Nuit-St-Georges Rouge from their large and very reasonably priced wine list featuring many local wines too. Although chocolate cake is not my usual choice of dessert, I am glad I ordered Bistro Des Copain's version which was as light, fluffy and as good as they come. I really didn't like the bitter 2005 Mayo Family Winery Zinfandel Port from Ricci Vineyard that was recommended to us as a pairing. Next time I would something stickier and sweeter. Yes - there is always a next time...

This review was a first impression.

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Bistro Des Copains, Occidental, Sonoma, CA


  • At 23/3/07 14:53, Blogger The Corkdork said…

    Thanks, Sam,
    Wow. Their winelist is very resonable. Must be because they are out in Occidental. I'll make a point to eat there in the coming months.
    Was it busy? John

  • At 23/3/07 15:09, Blogger Sam said…

    it was busy in a happy lively buzzing way

  • At 23/3/07 16:59, Blogger Dagny said…

    Now you're going to make me want to hop in my car and head up to Occidental one of these weekends. Hmmm. I feel a plan forming.

  • At 23/3/07 17:12, Blogger ChrisB said…

    Glad you enjoyed the rabbit Sam!!

  • At 23/3/07 19:46, Blogger Monkey Wrangler said…

    Sam, you remind me that what I call the childhood home environs is now cool and chic, filled with good eats. My folks actually lived in Camp Meeker when I was born. It was cheap to live in way back when. Did you see the sign on the north end of town? While you're there, treat yourself to Coleman Valley road out to the coast for a pretty tour in the motor car.

    Thanks for reminding me how the area west of Sebastopol is a great place to escape to these days, rather than from.

    And that bread you checked out earlier......yeah, like, killer.

  • At 24/3/07 03:39, Blogger Beccy said…

    Sounds like a good place to eat and work in.

  • At 25/3/07 09:52, Blogger Civic Center said…

    Slightly off topic, but I thought it should be noted that you are once again the front-page superstar this morning in the Sunday "San Francisco Chronicle" in yet another hit piece on blogging by that stupid newspaper. At least you came out of the piece unscathed, but the rest of the dumb article was yet another one of their "Real Journalists Good, Bloggers Bad" broadsides they have been indulging in lately.

    Still, it's always good to see you lionized, even with a backhanded compliment.

  • At 25/3/07 10:01, Blogger Beth Spotswood said…

    SFmike beat me to it. I was like, "Holy shit, is that MY SAM???

  • At 25/3/07 13:30, Blogger Dagny said…

    I agree with Monkey Wrangler. You so have to take Coleman Valley road out to the coast.

  • At 26/3/07 15:55, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We're regulars at Bistro des Copains. These are two friends that really love food and wine, so when the space opened up (it used to be The Painted Lady) they took it. Their food and wine prices are very reasonable, they say it's because they just want to break even - good enough for us!


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