Review: John Ash & Co., Santa Rosa
John Ash & Co. is located next to Vintners Inn in Santa Rosa, California. It is a highly rated restaurant known for it’s gourmet wine-country menu consisting of seasonal, local foods designed to pair with the local wines. Executive Chef Thomas Schmidt maintains the high quality of the dishes and the extensive, award-winning wine list. My review gives it 5 hearts.
Since we were staying at Vintners Inn (see my review here), we made a reservation several days in advance for our arrival night. It was a good decision, as we had many travel delays and arrived at the hotel tired and hungry. All we had to do was change out of our travel clothes and walk a few yards to the restaurant.
As you enter the restaurant, there is a bar on the left that serves cocktails, wine, and some food from the menu, and you can also purchase bottles of wine to go. We went to this bar a couple of times during our stay and found it to be cozy and lively at the same time.
The restaurant is divided into a few rooms and is nicely decorated in warm, glowy colors. We slid into a comfortable booth and felt our travel tension dissolve right away. John Ash is a nice restaurant that calls for dressing up a bit and making it a special occasion. (You can dress casually in the bar.) Despite the high-quality of the menu and wine list, it was not stuffy at all. Our waitress and the sommelier, Brandon, could not have been nicer, and Brandon gave us some great suggestions of wineries to visit the next day.
As luck would have it, it was restaurant week and they had a special prix-fixe menu in addition to the regular menu. They brought us a delicious shrimpy amuse-bouche while we mulled it over. We ordered a Thai-style calamari ($15) to start, which we both enjoyed, and I decided to order from the prix-fixe menu: cauliflower curry soup, sea bass with wheat berries and carrots, plus dessert for $39. Jorge ordered a warm spinach salad ($13) and a zinfandel braised lamb shank ($34). The sommelier suggested a Roth pinot noir to go with both of our dishes, and it turned out to be perfect. (I think it was about $50 for the bottle.) We liked it so much that we bought another bottle from the bar the next day to take with us. All of the food was beautifully presented and perfectly prepared. The portions were not too small and not too large. For dessert we shared the orange panna cotta from the prix-fixe menu, and it was the lightest, most delicious panna cotta I’ve ever had. In fact, we skipped dessert at another restaurant the next night and returned to the bar at John Ash just to have this again.
The atmosphere, decor, food, and wine were perfect, and dinner at John Ash & Co. was just what we needed after a long day of travel. We left relaxed, satisfied, and ready to explore the wine country.