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Petaluma Restaurant Seems Michelin-Bound

Michelin ratings for California restaurants will be revealed on Monday, and our money is on this newcomer to win its first star.

UPDATE: TCP was not recognized by the 2022 California Michelin guide, but we look forward to next year!

Michelin ratings for California restaurants will be revealed Monday, Dec. 5, and my money is on newcomer Table Culture Provisions in Petaluma to win its first star.

Chefs and owners Stéphane Saint Louis and Steven Vargas have created a destination restaurant that recently attracted the attention of the San Francisco Chronicle, landing them on the coveted Top 25 Restaurants for Fall list. A recent visit and exploration of their 10-course tasting menu was even more impressive than my first visit in January.

Inside their minimalist 10-table restaurant, Saint Louis and Vargas have mastered the menu with familiar favorites like their fried Delicata Squash Rings with Truffle Caviar Dip; Mushroom Rilette Tartelette with Sunchoke Chips; and Scallop with Romanesco Cauliflower, Black Masa Crisp and Smoked Trout Roe. New-to-me dishes included a Bucatini with Nduja, Olive, Pepperonata and Macha Oil. Fluffy Parker House Rolls with Beef Bone Marrow Butter are another throwback dish, an amuse-bouche worth saving to sop up Bearnaise sauce spooned over grilled bok choy.

One of the best dishes of the menu is simply named Harvest; it’s a petite casserole with butternut squash, Crecenza Espuma cheese and tatsoi. Much of the produce comes from their garden at Asambrosa, a 63-acre farm and estate in Petaluma.

Harvest is the simple name of this petite casserole with butternut squash and Crecenza Espuma cheese at Table Culture Provisions in Petaluma. (Table Culture Provisions)

Saint Louis and Vargas gained notice after they invested their pandemic stimulus checks in Tesla and turned the investment into a $17,000 windfall that helped them launch their restaurant. During the pandemic, they operated out of a borrowed space in Petaluma, selling pantry items and serving fried chicken and waffle-style potato chips (called gaufrette if you’re fancy) with onion dip.

The $135 full tasting menu, launched about a month ago, includes an $85 wine pairing from Sommelier Roberto Espinoza with wines from lesser-known producers in Sicily and Alsace. Espinoza is an alumni of San Francisco’s pricey, upscale Benu and Quince restaurants.

We also discovered former Hana Japanese sake sommelier Danny Pitassy working at Table Culture Provisions, who dreamed up a sake-oyster shooter with quail egg and Sriracha that starts the night right.

Early seatings are quiet and relaxed if you’re willing to eat at 5:30 p.m. But evening tables with the warm glow of candles are also delightful. Grab a reservation soon, because we’re sure Table Culture Provisions is headed for its close-up. 312 Petaluma Blvd S., Petaluma, 707-559-5739; go to tcprovision.com for menu and reservations.

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