Ken Tominaga is one of the few chefs who can charge $28 for a lobster sushi roll and not only get away with it, but inspire a sense of gratitude for the privilege of ordering it.
Holding court behind the sushi bar of Cindy Pawlcyn’s Go Fish in St. Helena, Tominaga is the stuff of legend here in SoCo as owner and chef of Hana Japanese in Rohnert Park. Spreading the raw fish love to Napa, he’s now splitting his time between the two restaurants, reportedly making frequent treks between RP and St. Helena.
Why? Because Tominaga, like just about everyone else drawn into Pawlcyn’s gravitational pull, would be crazy not to.
Since its opening this fall, Pawlcyn’s celebrity influence (as founder of Mustard’s and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen) and her adept hiring of some of the region’s best chefs has attracted a fairly rabid fan base–despite mixed reviews in the blogosphere (the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer has yet to weigh in) mostly over hiccups in service and some uneven dishes from the kitchen.
And now, another addition, former Julia’s Kitchen chef Victor Scargle. A counterpoint to Pawlcyn’s typically homey bistro-style fare, Scargle’s style is more haute and more French, as evidenced by recent menu additions of Ahi Tuna and Crispy Veal Sweetbreads (not up to Scargle standards, frankly) and Day Boat Scallops with Sonoma Foie Gras.
Will the curious mixture of casual California (Fish Your Way: You pick a daily catch sauced and cooked your way), clams, onion rings and Crab Louie; Scargle’s refined Franco-inspired Surf & Turf dishes and Ken’s Japanese flair all jive?
Or is it a high-profile train wreck in the making?
Right now, the honest answer is that it’s probably a little too early to tell. Things need to settle a bit, especially since Scargle’s addition. But with a nice glass of Chateau St. Michelle Eroica and a table near the window, Go Fish is more than worth some continued gustatory investigation.
And, uh, bring me a $28 lobster sushi roll while you’re at it.