First reviewed Oct. 2016. Revisited Feb 2017. “Still excellent. Worth a trip. Don’t miss happy hour.” – HI
It’s no fish story to say that Handline Restaurant in Sebastopol was one of our favorite openings of 2017. Created by Lowell Sheldon of Peter Lowell’s and his partner, Natalie Goble, the restaurant is focused on “Coastal California” cuisine. And that means plenty of seafood ranging from raw and grilled oysters to fried rockfish tacos ($10 for two), fisherman’s stew ($17), halibut ceviche ($16) and a killer salad with house smoked trout, pickled onion, apple and buttermilk dressing ($12).
But if you’re not a big fan of fish, there are also ridiculous al pastor tacos with pickled onion and salsa verde on house made corn tortillas, veggie tacos, vegan seasonal produce dishes from their garden (tomatoes with crispy quinoa, $8) and kid-friendly burgers and quesadillas (all under $10).
What puts Handline over the top however, has nothing to do with the sea. It’s the burger and fries. Their Inglewood burger includes St. Jorge fonduta, sweet chili relish, pastured beef and Thousand Island dressing ($11) and the double-fried hand cut fries with chipotle aioli ($5).
Make sure to check out “The Weather Report”, of-the-moment offers from their nearby family farm. Always one of my favorite things on the menu.
One of the most stunning reasons to check out the former Foster’s Freeze is the soaring interior, with Japanese-screen style windows that slide open, a large outdoor patio and large, family-sized tables (and some great beer and wine for mom and dad). Don’t miss dessert, their ode to Foster’s with Straus soft serve ($6) that’s available at the restaurant or the walk-up window to the patio.
It’s a fast-casual concept where you order at the counter and food is delivered, making it a quick in-and-out for lunch, but if you’ve got the time, you can also order more courses either at the window or from your table. It’s a bit like Gott’s Roadside, but inside and with better service.
The visual highpoint, however, is the Fire Island Barbie fish tank diorama. At least that’s what we’ve dubbed it. You kinda gotta-see-it-to-believe the five-foot waterless tank filled with rainbow colored sea life, mermaid Barbies, jellyfish, guitar playing turtles and Godzilla with a bouquet of flowers. Paired with a few hard ciders, its even more entertaining.
Hint: Watch out for the hot sauce at the tables. Though it looks creamy and undaunting, it’s got a powerful bite!
Handline Restaurant, 935 Gravenstein Hwy. South, Sebastopol, 11a.m. to 10p.m. daily. Visit site.