November 17, 2015 – We’re exploring a new area.  One with which neither of us is familiar.  And, of course, we’re on the prowl for great restaurants.  For great food.  We scored on our first try!

Mark and Karoline Platt, the owners of Sienna in El Dorado Hills, have successfully created a tastefully designed restaurant.  It has four stunning fireplaces, which tend to make a large venue seem cozy.  The restaurant offers multiple dining rooms, including a chef’s table in the kitchen, which is itself 3,600 square feet.  The chef’s table seats ten.  As soon as I meet eight more people we’re going for it.

Executive Chef Cassie Buchholz has put together an imaginative menu, which is described as New American.  That means to me an eclectic assortment of offerings grounded in American comfort food.  So it is at Sienna.

It also pleases me that while the wine list is properly extensive, the dinner menu is two pages including appetizers, salads, wood fired flatbreads and entrees.  That says the goal of the restaurant is to present a reasonable number of offerings that they execute extremely well.  A wise approach.  And they do execute extremely well.

Zack was assigned to tend our table.  A personable young man whose knowledge of the menu as well as the house specialty cocktails and the wine list made the evening more enjoyable.

I started with their Pear Autumn Martini.  The bar uses Purity, a first rate vodka distilled in Sweden.  The vodka is infused with pears in house, then shaken with a cranberry-pomegranate reduction and a bit of pear simple syrup.  The result is a cocktail that is martini-licious.  It looked so good that my wife, who usually prefers wine, ordered one for herself.

We decided to share the Ahi Tuna Trio.  Ahi prepared three ways.  My favorite was the poke on a wonton crisp.  The sesame oil in the salad was especially pleasant.  But the seared ahi and the sashimi with watermelon-mango salsa were also exquisite.

My wife shocked me when she didn’t order the short rib.  I can’t recall a time when she passed over a short rib if it were on the menu.  She asked Zack to bring her the Butternut Squash Ravioli.  The dish was slightly sweet, a result of the squash, pears, figs, bourbon-apple cider sauce and pomegranate-white balsamic reduction.

Since she didn’t order the short rib, I did.  Someone had to maintain family tradition.  The meat was braised in ale producing that wonderful, fork tender quality that makes a properly prepared short rib so delicious.  It was accompanied by Parmesan whipped potatoes and gingered baby carrots.  Pleasurable dining at its best.

We’ll be back to Sienna.  And when we get there I’m betting my wife will go for the short rib.  I just don’t think she can pass it up twice.




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