Seventy miles north of San Francisco in the middle of Sonoma County lies the small town of Healdsburg. On the edge of this wine country destination, on a relatively unassuming street, sits the 16-room luxury hotel Les Mars. It's on a corner of the ground level of this hotel that you'll find my favorite restaurant in the entire world, Cyrus. Since opening in 2005, Chef Douglas Keane has earned numerous accolades including two Michelin stars, Gourmet Magazines’ America's Top Fifty Restaurants award, and the James Beard award for Best Chef, Pacific.
Jon and I had been to Cyrus once before. Three years ago I took him there to celebrate his birthday. As we've traveled the world searching for great food we often make some comparison to Cyrus and have found ourselves saying, "we have to go back there," more times than I can count. With our fourth anniversary due up it was time—and this return trip lived up to our fondest memories. I don't know if I've ever had another meal in which I loved every single course and where the service never once faltered, even in the slightest. I let the restaurant know beforehand that I don't eat cheese and they made sure that nothing that was set before me had cheese in it—including the canapés that arrived shortly after we were seated. At the end of the meal the staff congratulated us on our anniversary and told us that they hoped to see us again soon. We replied that we definitely wouldn't wait another three years to return.
As with many of my other restaurant photos, I took my D300s and just one lens, the small 35mm f/1.8. I had just a little more light than I did at Restaurant Guy Savoy so I stopped down to f/2 for many of the up-close food photos and didn't let the shutter drop below 1/60th. ISOs were still in the 800-3200 range.