As I often say it's hard to judge any restaurant by eating only one meal but when you specifically ask for what the chef specializes in and than order that meal, you may have a good idea of how the whole place may be doing. That exactly what the three of us did. I asked and the server said, "his Carbonara is out of this world!" And what he, the chef does best. Then I asked for some garlic bread which was on the appetizers list and the server coyly said, "don't order that!" Apparently the chef was trained to make out if this world carbonara, but garlic bread class he missed. I got quite a chuckle from that and decided not to order the garlic bread. As promised however the two pasta dished and one sandwich we ordered was truly awesome. We all enjoyed our selected entrees and tasted each other's choices to get an all around idea of the chefs abilities. While I was impressed with the food (and normally that would be enough) I was less than enthusiastic about the gas-station-converted to restaurant building and than the service. The reason those are important in this case is the prices you pay for the entrees. When the average entree costs around $20, you might expect a bit better surroundings. The service was no more than you may receive at "Mel's Diner"...basically the food is brought out to you. Being in the very heart of the American wine country, I was hoping at the very least that the server would suggest at least one wine that might have complemented our meal. Instead she didn't even mention that they have wines...or even if we would like something besides water to drink. We didn't order anything but the water she automatically brought out. In all fairness though the server was the only other person besides the chef that worked there. So she was the hostess as well as the server to about four or so tables there. Anyway the food is truly good...and the chef may have his own reasons why he has taken his extensive culinary education and set up shop here in this remote and outdated building, his prices ought to reflect that choice as well. It is often said that bartenders make the worst bar owners just as doctors may make the worst hospital administrators, this chef proves the old adage as well: great chefs don't make the best businessmen. While I drove two hours just to get to this remote place, I may not make the same effort again given the other issues I mentioned above. One final note about the toilets: it needs extensive updating and cleanliness. Just as you would expect in a gas station, you're given a key and than asked to go outside, out back, to the restroom where the original bathroom was located...and cleaned perhaps once a day.
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