Shimo Modern Steak| Healdsburg

Japanese inspired steakhouse is Chef Douglas Keane's sharpest endeavors.

New York Strip

Wood-barreled knives honed to razor-sharpness shimmer on the table.
Set atop a stark white napkin, they are the lone characters in Shimo’s opening set. Meant to dazzle and awe — and maybe intimidate a little — the hand-forged Japanese cutlery made especially for Chef Douglas Keane’s new steakhouse send a rather pointed message: We’re not kidding around here. The cut on our server’s finger from an earlier run-in with the blade serves as fair warning.
Named for the glistening frost, as well as the white marbling of beef, Shimo Modern Steak, is the third Healdsburg restaurant for Keane. With business partner Nick Peyton (who opened St. Helena’s Market in 2002), the two have built  Michelin-two-starred Cyrus into Sonoma’s hautest eatery and both run the more everyday Healdsburg Bar and Grill.
At the helm is Chef de Cuisine Kolin Vazzoler who brings a fresh perspective to the menu, but pays homage to many of Keane’s meticulously executed trademarks — tweezer-perfect plating, table-side composition of plates and ever-present Asian flavors. The interior has been minimally transformed, though careful touches, like reclaimed wood tables and the honed steak knives speak to a more complete vision.

New York Strip

Beef, is obviously what’s for dinner here. Keane’s concept is for smaller shared portions of meat cooked on the bone whenever possible. It’s a noble concept, but one that Keane admits will take a bit of education.Weighty cuts like New York Strip, filet and Porterhouse are brought in from Allen Brother’s Steak in Chicago. A 24 ounce bone-in New York Strip for two (or three) runs $94, which at first blush can be some serious sticker shock. If you break down the cost, however, it’s $47 per person or $4 per ounce. By comparison, Allen Brothers sells their USDA Prime bone-in for about $2.60 per ounce retail.
Australian Wagyu is $10 per ounce, but boneless cuts are significantly less (about $52) and the Korean BBQ tri-tip, which is one of the most flavorful choices, runs $23. Fish and chicken are also offered and a prix-fixe prime rib supper is served from 3-8pm Sundays.
Steaks are both wet and dry aged, then cooked sous-vide and finally seared off with seasoned butter. The Japanese knives, which are taken away upon seating and returned with the steaks, seem almost redundant when meat is this tender. A house steak sauce is served complimentary, but Bordelaise, Bearnaise, ponzu, blue cheese and (best!) seaweed yuzu butter are a la carte.
Shimo biscuits

Sides are equally well-thought out, but will likely undergo some continued tweaking. Best bets include:
Cheddar fontina biscuits drizzled with steak butter (the tasty remainders after steaks are seared in the pan) ($6)
Twice baked potatoes: Potato gnocchi baked with cheese, bacon and white sauce ($12)
Ginger shiso dashi with rock shrimp shumai ($12)
– A deconstructed shrimp cocktail with horseradish pudding, tomato syrup and edible flowers ($13)
Tempura oysters with pickled lettuce and ginger sauce ($16)
Dessert is clean and simple: A palate cleanser of tart granite, usually, followed by a green tea Krispy treat.

Keane has hired Jaren Keller (formerly of The French Laundry) as Maitre’d, so service standards are already impeccable and the wine program is equally impressive (and includes sake). A full bar features cocktails and sake-inspired drinks.
Overall, there’s still some polishing to do, but once fully-honed, Shimo should easily be one of Chef Keane’s sharpest endeavors.
The Price: Expect to pay about $150 or so for two people, with steaks running about $35 to $40 per portion.
Shimo Modern Steakhouse, 241 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, 433-6000. Open Wednesday through Saturday from 5-9pm, Sunday from 3-8pm (prime rib supper). Closed Monday and Tuesday.

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20 thoughts on “Shimo Modern Steak| Healdsburg

  1. I live in Healdsburg and eat out quite often. I have fallen in love with Shimo’s noodle bar and go at least once a week for lunch. It’s not too heavy and so full of flavor. The bowl can certainly serve two for a decent lunch meal. My favorite is the ramen, shoyu, mushrooms and chicken. For dinner the steak is a must and you had better try their version of the twice baked potato. I NEver order any type of potato except the occasional truffle fries at HBG but I have a new facvorite dish after trying this. the staff is friendly and welcoming.

  2. It looks interesting. I rarely go out for beef since Hicks Ranch is readily available and superb, but I like the theme. Especially the prime rib dinner.
    Recommendation for those groaning about the price: Don’t go. I understand there is an In n Out for all your dining needs.

    1. just got back from Shimo’s….knocked my socks off. had the ny fillet for 2, melt in your mouth tender, with a crispy crunch sear on the outside
      we also tried wagu sliced thin sashimi style, barely seared – very kobesque
      the waitress seemed to stick to the asian theme and act like our spirit guide
      the twice baked are chronic as well as the cheddar fontina biscuits
      folks complained of the texture of “yam pie” as a side, but i thought the flavor was interesting
      the whole asian ambiance steak house fusion seems to flow very naturally
      all the tables in the restaurant are made from one ash tree from Mendocino county
      and they say the salt is made by one of two people who make sea salt in the country?
      supposedly he’s a fisherman who goes out and collects special water then extracts the salt

  3. Having started this vigorous discussion, I just wanted to say that I am glad so many are in support of Shimo and other eateries like it. Hubby and I are retired from bluish collar jobs (old guard, I guess) and our ability to pay for expensive dining is growing smaller and smaller. (see Michael Bauer’s article in the Chronicle re food prices rising 50% recently) So it’s true, I am angry — and frightened — when I see fewer places opening that provide a tasty meal for an affordable price. I suggest that all of u who love dining out now put away ALOT of money for your later years.

  4. “Cred” define that for us enlightened one. Does it mean that a city only has “cred” if it has the most overpriced restaurants per captia

  5. This is pretty funny when you step back and look at it. Remember people, its the locals who will support you in the bad times not the tourista. More Chef egos run rampant.

  6. Haters gonna hate.
    A huge thanks to the restaurant owners who see fit to open wonderful restaurants in Healdsburg. There’s a TON of small towns in Sonoma County that wish they had the restaurant “cred” that Healdsburg does. Don’t let a bunch of Negative Nancys ruin the party for everyone else.

  7. I got an idea, why not try, just try, putting in a good family restaraunt that won’t break the bank for us average folks. You get all the benefits mentioned by the other entries and it doesn’t isolate 3/4 of us here in Healdsburg. What are my options now, pizza or hamburgers, nice.

    1. Sigh. HBG has a very reasonable menu and great food that’s not just hamburgers. There are at least half a dozen other spots around town — Mexican, Italian, Chinese, sandwiches, Thai, etc. that also are reasonably priced. Healdsburg has become a very high-end tourist town, and I realize that frustrates some of the old guard…but it also brings a dang lot of money to the town. Visitors want something more than burritos. There are also a number of items on the Shimo menu that won’t break the bank if you just want to get some sides or a smaller dinner.

    2. There is no beef worth what their asking on the menu. Adel’s on Dry Creek Rd. serves a pretty good steak. I liked the Cena Luna that was before Shimo’s, it got a lot of good reviews too. Don’t know why it closed. Shimo’s will have a short stay, maybe longer than Speak Easy but short.

  8. Shana: thank goodness for rich people!! They pay my salary and keep the business I work for going. Are you able to do that?? What are you so insecure and jealous about?
    We earned our money the old fashion way, we worked for it. So, if I want to spend it at “outrageously costly eateries up and down our main streets” that is our choice. As of the moment, this is still a free country.
    And, I would bet my last dollar I donate more $$ to non-profits helping homeless people than you do.
    To Doug Keane and Nick Peyton: thank you for your creative business adventures in beatiful SoCo. We appreciate you selecting this area to expand.

  9. Absolutely exquisite in taste, service, and ambiance. What a delight to be able to enjoy all that Shimo, and Healdsburg, has to offer. As a local, I can not wait to return, again and again.

  10. We must have these “outrageously costly eateries up and down our main street” so that rich peole can spend their money and create jobs for the people who work in these eateries, and serve wine from the local wineries – who in turn create jobs for the people who work for them, and rent linen from local linen companies who service these eateries, and create jobs for people who clean these eateries, and get charged sales taxes that go into the coffers of our local goverment to fund schools, etc. etc. etc. The whole idea is to get rich people to SPEND their money.

  11. I like how people who come into town to visit spend money which benefits our local economy.
    I can’t understand how a local would complain about this.

  12. In a day when everyone is focused on local and sustainable why is he bringing in meat from Chicago and Australia?

    1. That’s exactly what I was wondering! I just bought some FANTASTIC locally pasture raised, totally grass fed, dry aged beef from Victorian Meat Co. in Sebastopol. Local is possible!

  13. I don’t know, it seems like Nero fiddling while Rome’s burning… I mean, with hundreds of thousands of folks out of work, losing their homes, living in the streets — must we have these outrageously costly eateries up and down our main streets?? Seems heartless. Well, at least the folks who can afford places like this will maintain their BIG tax cuts so they can gorge themselves on this expensive meat — could Shimo at least donate their leftovers to the homeless shelter??

    1. Shana:
      You may not be aware of it, but there are many people in this community who not only have the means to eat well on occasion, but they also have the kind generosity to donate their time and money by giving, and supporting those in need — on a regular basis.
      There are hundreds of non-profit organizations in Sonoma County that are supported by donations from the very people who you are calling heartless gorgers.
      Your empathy for those who are truly hurting in this terrible economic downturn is admirable. But your comparison of fine dining and Nero’s apathetic fiddling is hallucinatory.
      Which might explain why you’re reading Bite Club. For the mushrooms?

      1. Not to mention, the people who work at these “outrageously costly eateries” are supported by the folks who can, and do, afford to eat out in nice places like this. Like me, I’m a server. Thank you everyone who continues to support out local restaurants.

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