Ace Move

A North Bay chef lands at a Casino

Mark Malicki is a man who plays his cards right.

In his latest move, the talented Sonoma County chef is cooking at a most uncommon place: the Casino Bar & Grill in Bodega.

When Malicki's cherished Sebastopol restaurant, Café St. Rose, closed in August of last year, he followed with a two-month stint at the nearby French Garden; then, this summer, he popped up briefly in Benicia at Lucca FR.

Now, among the pool tables and jukeboxes of the funky 135-year-old roadhouse best known for its part in Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, Malicki is putting out a constantly changing menu.

Dishes might include clam pie ($10); fried sand dabs ($12) dressed in onions, raisins, pine nuts and vinegar; or a meatloaf-and-fried farm egg sandwich ($11). Sometimes he does a single star dish, like the North Bay's best fried chicken ($10) with corn on the cob.

In classic Malicki style, however, catching the chef at the Casino is no small feat: He only cooks dinner Saturday through Monday. Chef Dominique Rooney-Culp, most recently head chef at Sugo Trattoria in Petaluma, is in the kitchen Tuesday through Friday.

Casino Bar & Grill, 17000 Bodega Hwy., Bodega; 707-876-3185 or bodegacasinobarandgrill.com