Three Michelin Stars
#51 The World’s Best Restaurant list
# 2 Opinionated About Dining
Opening at the end of 2016 and focusing on sustainable sourcing, chef Kyle Connaughton and his wife, Katina, took on quite the project in Sonoma: a nearby farm, boutique inn, and restaurant. Just seven miles away, their farm supplies the majority of the vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, honey, eggs, and olive oil for the kitchen. Right above the restaurant, five carefully curated guest suites are available for bookings. Included in the stay is a decadent multi-course breakfast for two prepared by the SingleThread team. What a bucket list-worthy one-stop-shop!
I can’t think of a time when visiting California’s wine country isn’t enchanting. But summer and fall, however, remain my favorites. Mother nature demands attention more than ever in the fall before the wine cycle renews. It’s impossible to escape the bountiful and colorful display showing off for you with every step, on every turn. And then there’s the summer with its endless greens and sunny days. SingleThread’s ambitious focus on seasonal offerings translates loud and clear on the menu, plating, and execution during these periods.
On a rare grey and rainy autumn day, our party of four drove up to Healdsburg, eager to experience Singlethread for the very first time. Arriving a little earlier than our reservation time hoping to enjoy the rooftop garden, we checked in and were warmly greeted. A window towards the back wall of the lobby offered a look into the kitchen action. Skilled and graceful in their craft, the team moved to a beat I couldn’t hear, but could definitely feel. Unfortunately, the weather hampered our initial plans. Instead of outdoor sips, we were ushered awkwardly upstairs in an elevator to a small indoor sitting room. Heavily insulated and mysteriously quiet, the decor flowed with the same library chic look found in the atrium. There, we were offered a non-alcoholic aperitif while we waited. And waited.
I always find the song and dance upon arrival at upscale, noteworthy restaurants intriguing. There’s only one chance to make a first impression. Missteps are often magnified, and successful welcomes set the initial tone for the night. Right when we started becoming antsy from the isolation, our hostess whisked us away. The unforgettable tablescape awaiting our arrival trumped that initial wait. An intricate mossy green and floral centerpiece display took our breath away and piqued our curiosity. Our first bites hid within the arrangement and signaled the start of a memorable meal. Tip: the larger the party, the grander the setup.
A second visit finally allowed me to spend time on the rooftop garden. The stunning sunset faced me immediately as I walked upstairs, and I quickly regretted leaving my sunglasses behind. “Would you like a pair of sunglasses?” I paused and turned around to find our hostess happily holding a tray of, you guessed it, sunglasses of all shapes and colors. A sunglass menu? That was a first, but I can’t say it surprised me.
Back to that first introduction to the “SingleThread way,” I spent a good amount of time foraging for each delectable piece out of that incredible spread highlighting seafood and vegetables. Once removed from the table, I couldn’t help but sit basking in the afterglow. Only one word came to mind then: wow. Where do you go from there?
What I’ve tried:
The (summer menu) Box Crab course (grilled baby corn, basil, kani miso) remains my favorite of them all. The sweet corn custard and the soft and rich crab accompanied by the baby corn included butter I could have (and maybe did) spread on everything. The dish disappeared in seconds, and I felt great regret over it. Why didn’t I savor it slower? Bad gluttonous move, I confess.
The (summer menu) Black Cod (tama miso, squash blossoms) prepared tableside, delicately balanced components in both flavor and texture.
I enjoyed the signature Sonoma Grains course both times, but preferred the Early Autumn in Sonoma version better: wagyu short rib, black garlic, and matsutake tea.
Other favorites included in the autumn menu I loved were the Shima Aji (squash relish, zucchini puree, herb dashi), the Inada (Gravenstein apple, myoga, sansho), and the amuse-bouche Egg (steamed custard and smoked sabayon topped with Passmore Ranch caviar).
Throughout dinner, service remained professional, yet approachable. At no point did it ever feel overbearing or stuffy. I especially treasured our interaction with the sommeliers both times: every question expertly answered, and every suggestion on point.
A pincushion, complete with thread in the signature Singlethread color palette, arrived at dinner’s end with a “pinned” check. To conclude, the staff presented a beautifully designed keepsake menu, adorned with a delicate fresh bouquet. Inside, each dish was described on a menu listing the night’s courses. On the opposite side, a small thank you note was showcased beneath a paper rosette cleverly hiding a packet of (komatsuna in the fall, hakurei in the summer) heirloom seeds inside. Pay it forward. Plant the seeds. Seek change. Inspiring, to say the least.
SingleThread is best defined, admired, and enjoyed as a whole and not in isolated tidbits of favorite bites. Whether obvious to the diner or not, every detail has its place, and I continue to discover more with each visit. Their concept and practices stand alone in its approach in the area and beyond: a single thread sewing a most wholesome (and exquisite) experience for the most discerning guests led by a team of harmonious giving hearts.
It is most certainly worth a detour.
It is located about an hour northwest of Yountville.
The lunch and dinner menus are the same.
If driving from the Napa area, it’s best and safest to visit for lunch.
During the warmer months, the rooftop gardens are open daily, beginning at 4:30 PM. If you would like to begin the evening with a drink in the gardens, you’re welcome to arrive thirty minutes to an hour early.
The rooftop gardens are closed during lunch services and the cooler months.
Restaurant bookings are released at 9 AM PST on the 1st of every month for the following month.
Parking is available street side or on their private lot directly behind the restaurant.
131 North St