River’s End

In my opinion (and I am correct), the finest restaurant on the Sonoma Coast is River’s Endin Jenner. River’s End is literally at the end of the Russian River were it runs into the Pacific Ocean. So they have great views of the Russian River and the Ocean. There is even a little Harbor Seal colony at the mouth of the river. The sunsets here are spectacular.

River’s End has great wine pairings. The Wine Spectator has awarded River’s End an Award of Excellence, which is quite the achievement. Check out the Wine Spectator ratings:

Award of Excellence
2,841 winners
Our basic award, for lists that offer a well-chosen selection of quality producers, along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Typically, these lists offer at least 100 selections.

Best of Award of Excellence
876 winners
Our second-tier award, created to give special recognition to restaurants that clearly exceed the requirements of the Award of Excellence. These lists typically offer 400 or more selections, along with superior presentation, and display either vintage depth, with several vertical offerings of top wines, or excellent breadth across several wine regions.

Grand Award
74 winners
Our highest award, given to restaurants that show an uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program. These restaurants typically offer 1,500 selections or more, and feature serious breadth of top producers, outstanding depth in mature vintages, a selection of large-format bottles, excellent harmony with the menu and superior organization, presentation and wine service.

February is time for Valentine’s Day. It is also Dungeness Crab season. So River’s End has a Dungeness Crab Tasting Menu (in February) that is focused on Valentine’s Day. We have partaken a number of years. We had to do it again this year.

The Maître d was Evan. Who started out as a waiter at this restaurant and worked his way up. He has done an amazing job. He has improved the meals. The wine pairings were over the top.

Our waiter was Lee Chi. This is the second year that she has served us. She was great.

Service was excellent. The food was excellent. We are looking forward to our next dinner here.

Our River’s End Menu

1. Amuse Bouche

A cucumber mouse with crab. A nice palette cleanser.

Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee 2008
A hint of blush. Not too dry. Very nice.

2. Land and Sea Ravioli

Spinach ravioli filled with dungeness crab, golden chantrelles mushrooms, mascarpone, fresh herbs In a sauvignon blanc sauce. A nice creamy sauce with mushrooms. The chantrelles were awesome. We sopped up the sauce with bread.

Leo Steen Wines, Dry Creek Value, Chenin Blanc 2011
A hint of oak. Dry but smooth. Great flavor.

3. Asian Crab Salad

Organic greens, dungeness crab, avocado, and mandarin oranges. Tossed in an Asian vinaigrette finished with this slices of crispy wonton. A very nice salad.

Hook & Ladder, Russian River, Gewürztraminer 2010
An awesome nose. Like a Beerenauslese. But the pallet is like a Kabinet. The slight sweetness of the wine worked well with the acidity of the salad. A great wine pairing. I will need to purchase some of this wine for my own use.

4. Dungeness Crab Bisque

A dungeness crab bisque in a puff pastry. It is hard enough getting a puff pastry to work out. Let alone baking it in a bisque. The result was luxurious. Rich, creamy, and decadent. A full out crab flavor.

Balleto Vineyards & Winery, Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2011
Nicely balanced. A hint of oak but not too dry. Worked well with the bisque.

5. Herb Rubbed Fillet Mignon

Seared fillet. Served with wild mushrooms and butter poached crab. Finished with a huckleberry sauce. The sauce was a perfect match with the wine. Another awesome wine pairing. Yeh Evan.

Gamba Winery Family Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Zinfandel 2011
This Zin knocked me out of my chair. What a nose bomb. A lot like a fine port. The finest Zin that I have ever tasted. Very rich and succulent nose. Zins are often times served as dessert wines.
And this one sets the standard. I will somehow purchase this wine.

5b) Lobster & Dungeness Crab Cake

Lobster and dungeness crab meat rolled in panko bread crumbs. Served with a truffle cream sauce. Very rich and decadent.

Dutton-Goldfield, Dutton Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay 2010.
A very nice Chardonnay. Great fruit and just the right amount of oak. Nicely balanced. A rich, opulent flavor. A nice pairing with the crab cake. I will need to purchase this wine.

6) Tres Leches

Layers of moist sponge cake and raspberries. Soaked in silky tres leches syrup. Glazed with dark chocolate cognac ganache. Accompanied with tres leches ice cream. This is the finest tres leeches that I have ever had. Over the top. The wine was a nice pairing.

Hart’s Desire, Sonoma Dessert Wine, Syrah Noir 2010
This wine tastes a lot like a fine port. But it is Syrah and Pinot Noir. Very interesting and very nice.