Ryan Fancher is one of those rare talents that can cook pretty much anything he sets his mind to with a level of passion and consistency that will blow you away, day after day. But when it comes to what he loves to cook “best” anyone who knows him will tell you it's probably going to be French. Not fancy French with all the bells and whistles (though he has that down to an art form), but Country French, those soul-satisfying flavors that are imbedded in the part of our DNA that spells comfort. I’m convinced that in another life Ryan was a French grand-mère living on a farm in some great food town like Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, cooking incredible dishes that pulled from centuries of tradition, using every part of the animals the family raised, churning butter and cheese, pickling vegetables and herbs straight from a huge potager only a few steps from the kitchen door.
In the interest of brevity when people ask we usually call the style of food we serve at Barndiva “Modern Country.” 'Modern’ refers to the clean elegant flavors and vibrant colors of Ryan’s palette, ‘country’ to the bountiful landscape that surrounds our restaurant, where we live and work and source ingredients. Hence the name of this blog: Eat the View.
So, it was no surprise when Ryan and star sous chef Andrew Wycoff started to play around with ideas for Sunday Dinners in Studio Barndiva they began to dream of menus you might have found in a French family cookbook 100+ years ago. This is the food they want to cook. More to the point it's the food they would love to eat on Sunday evening as the sun gets low, winding down from the weekend, mentally getting ready for the week to come.
Last Sunday we invited a few friends for the first of what we hope will be many Sunday Dinners here in the Studio. Surrounded by French wine and food antiques that fill the Gallery, fueled by great conversation and a not inconsiderable amount of Rosé, we joyously ate through heaps of pencil thin frites and bowls of moules marinières with an incandescent broth that had us groaning with pleasure. The first course was followed by Mt. Lassen cold water trout with perfect crispy skin, served over haricot beans smothered in caper butter sauce. For dessert, there were old fashioned glass jars filled with silky dark chocolate mousse Andrew had topped with dollops of Bavarian cream and sugary light financiers.
The wonderful a la carte menus Ryan creates for Barndiva will not change on Sunday, where weather permitting you can dine in our candlelit gardens. But if some Sunday evening you find yourself craving something a little more down home, easy on the pocket, sublime in the way it leaves you feeling just plain happy to be alive, join us for our spin on a Classic French Country Dinner in the Studio. Menus for the month will be posted on the website; book by calling Barndiva. Be sure to tell them you want to snag a seat for French Country Sunday. We will happily offer Vegetarian and Vegan options.
French Country Dinners - served every Sunday in Studio Barndiva
August Menus, from $35
Sunday August 9th
SALADE DE BETTERAVES beet salad, hazelnut, watercress, blue cheese
STEAK FRITES kobe flat iron steak, hotel butter, fries
CHOCOLATE POTS A CRÈME valhorona 70%, financier
Sunday August 16th
SOUPE A TOMATE, CROQUE MONSIEUR tomato soup, ham & cheese panini
SAUMON AU SALADE OIGNON wild salmon, greens, shallot vinaigrette
CRÈME BRULÉE almond florentine , candied citrus
Sunday August 23rd
SALADE NICOISE greens, egg, green beans, olive d'agneau pistu
SLICED LEG OF LAMB white beans, basil pesto
TARTE TATIN barndiva dry farmed gravensteins, vanilla bean ice cream
Sunday August 30th
FRISÉE LARDON salad of frisée, greens, bacon, garlic crouton, quail egg
COQ AU VIN roasted chicken, red wine jus, mushrooms
PROFITEROLES (chocolate sauce, coffee ice cream