Three words: Pork chop mole.
Though Kitchen 335 in Healdsburg is a restaurant that’s still finding itself, there are a handful of dishes that make the restaurant worth a try. Pork chop mole, which prominently features restaurant-owner Octavio Diaz’ authentic Mexican black mole, obviously resides firmly at the top of the list.Describing itself as farm-to-table seems like a disservice to the ever-evolving lineup of appetizers, salads and entrées that range from citrus-soy glazed calamari to a savory French tart, and chicken breast with lemon cream to the aforementioned mole.
What most folks don’t know is that the mash-up of global flavors are favorite dishes from the restaurant’s former and current chefs, Danny Mai (as executive chef of Persimmon, the restaurant’s last moniker), opening chef Rodrigo Mendoza (of Willi’s Seafood) along with newer French-inspired dishes from chef Patrick Martin. Martin is best-known as the last chef at Restaurant Charcuterie, which closed in 2015, before Mai’s Persimmon opened in 2016.
If you didn’t follow the bouncing toques, that means the owner of the original restaurant at 335 Healdsburg Avenue is now a chef at the restaurant. And there are a whole lot of folks excited to see Martin’s return.
Overhearing an excited French conversation between a local couple and Martin at a recent dinner, it was easy to discern the enthusiasm of both the diners and Chef Martin. Or, at least as much as I could understand in my B-minus worthy high school French. Because it would be rude to eavesdrop and not introduce oneselves, introductions were made, and their deep love of Martin’s cuisine (“He catered our daughter’s wedding,” they said) as well as his long-standing roots in the community.
That kind of cozy companionship is what Kitchen 335 can excel at, with just a handful of tables and impressive service. Owned by the Diaz family, the restaurant has the potential to become a weeknight local hotspot. Especially if they keep serving that pork chop mole.
Mushroom Tart ($13): French pastry dough with feathery goat cheese cream, wild mushrooms, shallots and herbs. Order two unless you have incredible willpower, because it’s that good.
Sautéed Chicken Livers ($13): Since Ralph’s Bistro closed, these old school gems have been scarce. Mixed with smoked bacon, mushrooms, Marsala and herbs, they’re an offal treat.
Shellfish Saffron Risotto ($26): Risotto was a little soupy, but deeply fragrant stock and saffron made this exotic dish with shrimp, mussels and calamari sing.
Fried calamari with citrus soy glaze ($14): Though a Persimmon favorite, they seem out of place now, and the preparation reflects that. Not bad, but not amazing.
Poached Beets ($14): Tastes incredible, but the presentation was uninspired for a $14 salad.
Prices seem a little high ($18 for a burger) but if the restaurant can dial in a few classic crowd-pleasers with Martin’s tried-and-true lineup from Charcuterie along with some other outside-the-box dishes like the pork chop mole, Kitchen 335 has potential to be a neighborhood favorite and more.