The Restaurant at Meadowood
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The Restaurant at Meadowood Restaurant Review: A solid doorway creates wine cave-like mystery. Inside, The Rotunda with 20-foot ceilings and two fireplaces makes a savvy spot for cocktails along with canapés and snacks hailing from The Restaurant at Meadowood's hallowed kitchen. From here, expect to feel quiet envy as luckier guests get escorted just beyond, into the main dining room, for the royal treatment of chef Christopher Kostow and his crew. The airy restaurant features picture windows, stone-topped tables and plush seating. After a personal phone call prior to your visit to inquire about allergies and aversions, submit to Kostow's cavalcade of courses. Diners may select the Tasting Menu ($330, service charge included) or the Counter Menu enjoyed in the kitchen ($500, service charge included). A wine experience is available for an additional cost. (The Restaurant Bar presents a three-course menu for $90.) Expectations of stuffiness quickly dissipate as whimsical amuse-bouches arrive --- sweet pumpernickel macaron with radish and whipped butter, or a carrot crumb sponge ball atop wax paper-pressed carrot tops. Throughout the meal, Kostow's intention is to surprise, disarm and delight. Wise servers, a handful in rotation, can’t help but smile in anticipation of reactions. Even dishes with seemingly modest ingredients are complex and unforgettable delicacies: cloud-like house-made yogurt with dots of wild plum, baby pecans and shredded shiso leaf served in a bed of rocks; a tiny cucumber swaddled in charred madrone leaves to yield remarkable potato-like texture and taste; a pretzel ball with a cheddar-padron pepper center paired with herby ale; squab “tea.” There is beauty everywhere, epitomized by lobster wrapped in a roasted day lily, its petals resembling an exotic bird’s feathers, with a blackberry formed of caviar and confetti from the blossom’s stamen and pistil. Desserts such as smoked peach Moscato, molasses cake and Parmesan cream encased in a Pavlova “eggshell” are dazzling. Be staggered by the wine list, or trust the sommelier’s studied pairings.