Syrah Bistro | Santa Rosa

Syrah Bistro is a top-pick in Santa Rosa, especially for crabcakes and innovative California cuisine


Syrah Bistro in Santa Rosa
Syrah Bistro in Santa Rosa

Just the facts:
Chef Josh Silvers’ Wine Country classics are consistent crowd-pleasers in this downtown Santa Rosa fixture. Can’t miss favorites include crab cakes, seared foie gras and Liberty Duck, in addition to a chef’s whim tasting menu. Lunchtime burgers are legendary.
The open kitchen and cozy dining room make for a festive dinner atmosphere, but seats in the attached foyer are less desirable. The wine list is extensive, with special focus on local wines (including plenty of syrah).

There are crab cakes. And there are crab hockey pucks.
Crab cakes have, uh, actual crab in them. In fact, the main ingredient needs to be crab. Crab hockey pucks are those nasty, greasy little things chefs try to pass off as crab cakes, but are mostly breadcrumbs, egg and celery with a
string or two of crabmeat. Most often doused in lemon mayonnaise. As a former crab cake judge (seriously, I was) I’m hereby declaring them illegal.
After all, we live in the heart of Dungeness Crab Country in the heart of Dungeness Crab season. Is it that hard to make a decent crab cake
around here?

Ask Josh Silvers of Syrah. He seems to have figured it out.

Josh’s Crab Cakes are a staple on the Syrah menu. Like the cheese course and the Liberty Duck breast,
they’re part of the Syrah experience. Yes, they’re $15 for three
patties, which goes down a little hard. But if you look at the recipe
(which follows) you’ll notice that they’re almost all crab.
$21-pound-crab, according to Silvers.

So what aside from a
good 5-6 oz of crab (Silvers uses Dungeness and lump, depending on
what’s best at the moment) sold me on Josh’s cakes?
They crumble
and fall apart a bit when you cut them (this is a good thing), instead
of sticking together in a spongy, bready clump. They sit on a bed of
tart and tangy mustard aioli, cutting the richness of the frying,
encased in a crunchy shell of Japanese panko crumbs.
And, I may have mentioned this, they are full of crab.
Those other crab cake imposters? Call the food police and just back away slowly.
Syrah Bistro, 205 Fifth Street Santa Rosa, 707.568.4002