If the walls of the squat, one-story building at 1021 Hahman Drive in Santa Rosa could talk, they would tell a thousand delicious tales.
For over 20 years, the cafe and production kitchen has been home to bakers, chefs and culinary students as Santa Rosa Baking Co., The Chippery and, from 2006 to 2018, Worth Our Weight, a beloved culinary training program for at-risk youth run by the late Evelyn Cheatham. Under her leadership, it was a place to find the well-heeled and downtrodden breaking bread.
Under chef Didier Ageorges of Pascaline Patisserie and Cafe, it’s finding new life as a bakery, neighborhood bistro and supper spot. In July, the longtime Chalk Hill winery chef opened a second outpost of the French bakery he founded in 2015 with pastry chef Celine Plano. Throughout the summer and fall, buttery breakfast croissants, sweet kouign amann and quiche were mainlined into the Montgomery Village neighborhood. In early January, Ageorges began dinner service.
Pascaline’s original Sebastopol location permanently closed on Jan. 1, 2024.
With only a handful of tables, dinner is an intimate experience Thursday through Saturday with traditional French dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon, fish Grenobloise and tarte Tatin served with some of Ageorges’ collection of wines. Some of his favorites hide in a secret walk-in refrigerator camouflaged by a bookcase.
What to order
You’ll find Ageorges in the kitchen focusing on of-the-moment local ingredients. Start with a homey country pate ($17.50) and move on to fingerling potato salad with rich pulled pork jowl, bitter frisée, shallots and tart Dijon mustard vinaigrette ($17.50) reminiscent of German potato salad.
Make a point of ordering the signature onion soup ($15.50) or soup du jour, which, on our visit, was a cream of parsnip soup with bits of roasted pear on top. Chef de Cuisine Lynn Chia, who worked with Ageorges at Chalk Hill and studied at the Singapore outpost of the Culinary Institute of America, handles the front of house.
Boeuf Bourguignon ($38) with a buttery potato mousseline is a must-try, with fall-apart braised beef and bright green beans. However, we were even more excited with the surprisingly light Sea Bass Genobloise (a caper and butter sauce) with potatoes, spinach and oven-roasted tomatoes ($38).
Other dishes include mushroom farrosotto with mushrooms and kale ($22, can be vegan), Poulet Blanquette with pearl onions ($28) and Croque Madame with ham, Swiss and Mornay sauce ($18). The entrees are surprisingly light despite all the butter and cream.
Pascaline is a patisserie, after all, so leave room for dessert. Passion fruit cheesecake with mango coulis ($13.50) isn’t exactly French, but an airy finish to the meal. French tarte Tatin, made with pillow-soft caramelized apples, and Crème Anglaise poured over the top.
Ageorges said he’s always loved the warmth and history of the 1021 Hahman building and cherished the times he worked with Cheatham at Worth Our Weight.
“I hope I can honor her here,” he said, serving up the tarte Tatin and ready to share — and make — even more stories.
For more details or reservations, visit pascalinepatisserieandcafe.com or call 707-303-7151.