It's 2,925 miles from western Sonoma County to Manhattan's East Village, but recent transplants Ginevra Iverson and Eric Korsh, the husband-and-wife owners of Sebastopol's Restaurant Eloise, will have you convinced the neighborhood is just around the corner.
The couple (pictured) worked at the cherished New York institution Prune before moving west to open their own spot last summer. At Eloise, they cook European farmhouse dishes with brawny flavors and soulfulness akin to those of their alma mater. Some representative items: mushroom toast with bordelaise and poached egg ($13); ricotta-chard gnocchi with sage-infused brown butter ($19); and Prune's famous roasted bone marrow ($14). As Iverson puts it, "Our food is sort of dirty."
In keeping with Northern California's local-food ethos, the pair sources most of their ingredients from within the region, including the on-site vegetable garden. Their well-curated wine list combines lauded Old World bottles (2007 Domaine Tempier Rosé; $68) with small-production locals (2005 Churchill Cellars Bella Luna Pinot Noir; $79).
Unlike too many wine-country spots, Restaurant Eloise is neither podunk nor prissy. Instead, Iverson and Korsh have created the perfect amalgam of big city and back country--a place as unpretentious as it is sophisticated.
Restaurant Eloise, 2295 Gravenstein Hwy. S., Sebastopol, California; 707-823-6300 or restauranteloise.com
[Please see an important correction to yesterday's "Second Labels" article regarding Caymus Vineyards by clicking here.]