Sonoma County has never had a love affair with clubby steakhouses — manly, dimly lit, leather-and-cigar-scented temples of aged beef and expensive whiskey. While expensive steaks are certainly on high-end local restaurant menus, local steakhouses are rarer than a properly cooked filet mignon.
This week, Healdsburg bucks the trend with Goodnight’s Prime Steak + Spirits, where a shareable 42-ounce Tomahawk steak will set you back $200, more than 80 brands of whiskey grace the bar menu and high-back tufted leather banquettes create private sanctuaries for diners.
Located on the Healdsburg Plaza, the restaurant is part of an ever-growing list of Foley Entertainment Group eateries backed by wine mogul and entrepreneur Bill Foley including (locally) Duke’s Spirited Cocktails, Chalkboard and the still-in-flux Burdock. The group also owns international restaurants, wineries and hotels, the Vegas Golden Nights hockey league and other entertainment and hospitality assets.
Chef David Lawrence, a familiar San Francisco culinary figure whose projects include Fillmore 1300 and Black Bark BBQ, will head up the culinary program. The steakhouse is a return to a familiar format for the Brit who cut his chops at London steakhouses with his Jamaican-born father.
The menu is inspired by cattle wrangler, Texas Ranger and inventor of the chuck wagon, Charles Goodnight. He was a prominent rancher and herder on the 19th-century Western frontier, the owners said.
“Goodnight played a pivotal role in herding untamed Texas Longhorn cattle in the vast expanse of the Texas panhandle. His rugged toughness, adventurous spirit and inventiveness are expressed throughout the restaurant’s culinary and beverage programs and what can only be defined as Texas-sized hospitality,” said a news release announcing the restaurant’s soft opening on Tuesday, Aug. 1.
The menu will lean heavily on steak (Wagyu, New York strip, rib-eye) but also includes seafood and well-crafted vegetarian options like housemade linguine with ricotta, eggplant, blistered cherry tomatoes and chile crisp oil. Much of the produce will come from Foley’s nearby Chalk Hill Estate Winery. Lobster thermidor — a throwback dish of lobster, cheese and cream made famous in the early 20th century by luxury hotels and restaurants — also appears on the menu.
The wine list is, not surprisingly, heavy with Foley-portfolio wines. Mixologist Devon Espinosa heads the lighthearted cocktail list.
Goodnight’s is at 113 Plaza St. in Healdsburg. Reservations are available online at goodnightsrestaurant.com. Open daily for dinner from 5 to 10 p.m.