Two forks + one bite of polenta cake = friendship on the line.
Over a recent lunch nosh-fest my gal pal and I had nearly inhaled a plate of seared polenta with truffle porcini spread, mushrooms, arugula and tiny Peruvian sweet peppers ($14) at the new(ish) Franchettis Wood Fire Kitchen (1229 N. Dutton, Santa Rosa).
And that last bite? Things were about to get ugly between us. Fortunately she was easily distracted, and while I pushed her purse off the table, stole the final few crumbs to her horror.
That’s actually not at all what happened, because I’m a class act and I let her have the last bite, while secretly snarfing the rest of the crab fettucini and braised Brussels sprouts with cream and lemon olive oil ($9.75). I may have also shoved some of the spicier-than-Channing-Tatum (k)chettis’ spicy chicken (flash fried with salsa verde and Calabrian chili paste, $10) into my bag.
Since parting ways with Rosso, Chef John Franchetti and his wife, Gesine, have been revamping their bistro menu with a lineup of small plates, salads and entrees that, frankly, are what we’ve always admired most about Franchetti’s cooking. Each day, a lineup of specials goes onto the chalkboard, so you never quite know what you’ll experience on any given day, though the fried chicken, arancini, wood-fired pizzas, roasted olives with burrata (which made me fall in love with Franchetti’s cooking way back in 2009), and breakfast skillets are in the regular rotation.
Gone are the rotisseries and focus on porchetta (which I like, but was a little limiting), instead focusing on whatever the Franchettis are getting in fresh that day.
The bonus: Pastry chef Dominique Cortara rents space from the Franchettis, so her breakfast pastries and other sweets are always on the menu. Watch for her lemon cheesecake with blood orange curd ($5.75) that’s another friendship-ender.
So, just order two.
Franchettis Wood Fire Kitchen, 1229 N. Dutton, Santa Rosa, 526-1229.
Hours: Breakfast and lunch: Monday through Friday, 9am to 2:30pm
Brunch: Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 1:30pm
Dinner: Wednesday through Sunday, 5pm to 8:30pm (last seating)
Happy hour: 4:30pm to 6pm