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First Look: The Matheson Opens in Healdsburg

Four long years in the making, Chef Dustin Valette’s epic restaurant concepts The Matheson and Roof 106 have finally opened to the public.

Four long years in the making, Chef Dustin Valette’s epic restaurant concepts The Matheson and Roof 106 have finally opened to the public in Healdsburg. Bite Club got a preview of the 231-seat, three-level restaurant and lounge on opening night, Sept. 2, with other diners eager for a peek.

The Matheson occupies the ground floor, a sweeping, open space ringed by eight murals of Wine Country scenes by San Francisco artist Jay Mercado and crowned with a barrel-stave-inspired ceiling.

An open kitchen serves high-end appetizers and entrees, as well as Japanese-inspired dishes — including nigiri stunners created by Hana Japanese Chef Ken Tominaga and executed by sushi chef Daisuke Somato. The Tamanishiki rice porridge ($19), a risotto-like starter of black rice, a single perfectly cooked day boat scallop and preserved lemon, was the star of the night. Seasonal tomato salad with whipped burrata, lovage, sea beans and rye “soil” ($15) also was excellent.

The Matheson in Healdsburg. (The Matheson)
Tamanishiki Rice Porridge at The Matheson in Healdsburg. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)

The Matheson menu is likely to change over the coming weeks and months with the seasons. For now, it includes Kampachi Crudo ($21), Aged Sonoma Duck with plum glaze ($38), Pumpkin Seed Mole with Oaxacan cheese and tempura squash ($28), along with several cuts of steak.

The tasting menu, always a solid choice at nearby Valette restaurant, includes a “best of” with sashimi, tomato salad, king salmon, Sonoma lamb and a dark chocolate pave for $95. From the bar, we also tried the Truffle Shuffle cocktail ($18) with truffle-infused Sazerac, sweet vermouth, celery and bitters ($18), which was mostly like a Manhattan and not so much like a truffle, but still fun.

Kampachi Crudo with cucumber agua chile, puffed sushi rice and finger lime. (Heather Irwin/Sonoma Magazine)

Upstairs at Roof 106, diners will find a more casual indoor-outdoor setting with a cozy bar inside and a mix of sofa-style and chair seating and plenty of greenery outside under an airy, extended pergola.

Roof 106 serves shareable snacks, including a tasty Fried Sweet Corn with citrus crema ($9); Tominaga’s Hand Rolls ($4 – 6); and wood-fired pizzas like the Cured Pork Belly with Gruyere, red onion and roasted garlic crème fraîche ($21). Larger plates of steak, crispy pork belly and a burrata and peach salad round out the menu along with entertaining frozen “push pops” ($5) of our youth in grown-up flavors like Coconut Rum Mojito and Yuzu Strawberry.

The upstairs bar serves up their own list of cocktails, among them the Modern Margarita ($10) with tequila and clarified lime, a molecular-gastronomy take on a classic. Don’t miss the beehive-themed details either, including the hexagon-shaped tiles surrounding the bar.

Expect a deeper dive in early fall as dining writer Carey Sweet and I explore the menus in detail. Reservations online at thematheson.com. 106 Matheson St., Healdsburg.

More dining news from Sonoma

Sarmentine opens: After gaining a following for her home-delivered French pastries, Alexandra Zandvliet has opened a bakery at 52 Mission Circle, site of the former Muffin Street Bakery. Offerings are limited as Zandvliet and her staff get up to speed, but you’ll find croissants and baguettes on most days, along with brioche, fougasse (a French flatbread similar to focaccia) and rustic boules. Don’t miss the espresso drinks and the refrigerated case with Laura Chenel marinated goat cheese, Marin French Cheese Co.’s washed rind Triple Creme Brie and French pates. Hours change frequently, so check sarmentine.com for the latest information.

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