Michelin dining. No wait.

Recently Sebastopol’s tiny K&L Bistro received a highly coveted Michelin star, along with a handful of other well-known Wine Country haunts. Gasps were heard ’round the North Bay as eager diners saw any hope of immediate seating disappear faster than a cassoulet on a cold winter night. Right?
Not necessarily. Despite serious misgivings, Bite Club decided to head for K & L on lazy Monday afternoon for lunch. The backup plan: a Big Mac and fries on my way back to the office. And trust me; I already had my cup holder cleaned out for the supersized-Diet Coke.
Holding my breath as I headed down Main Street and stepped inside, the bistro was all but empty. Empty? Turns out lunch time is the right time, especially on a Monday, after 1:30pm. (But don’t tell your neighbor, who’s been waiting a week to get a dinner reservation.)
What’s up with that? Staff tell me that weeknights and primetime weekend times can indeed be busy and short on seating as folks hear about the Michelin star, but early week lunches and dinners still tend to be relatively quiet. So come early (before 5:30pm) or late (after 7:30pm), sit at the bar, or just skip out of work for an hour or two (which I think is by far the best choice) and savor a little mid-day indulgence. No waiting.
Sitting at the banquet by myself, it was easy to see that afternoon diners were mostly locals dropping by for a quick bite, take out, or business lunch, chatting it up with the staff and each other. Somehow, that made the experience feel more casual and authentic, rather than sitting elbow to elbow with out-of-towners.
So, if you’re really jonesing for a little French onion soup gratinee, a harvest fruit tart, or the lip-smacking Petrole sole (with lemon butter, shallots and the bistro’s famous fries), we’ll meet you at K & L’s cozy banquet for a little lunchtime nosh. Just don’t tell your boss.
PS: Don’t worry that you’re missing out by eating lunch, rather than dinner. The bistro features many of its signature dishes (including the soup, risotto, sole, steak frites and crab cakes) on both menus, so nooners won’t be getting a substantially different experience food-wise.
K & L Bistro: 119 S. Main St., Sebastopol, (707) 823-6614