Friday, May 3, 2013


Long time, no blog! Sorry about that. The good news is that there are tons of great new restaurants to introduce you to, so Coco and I are back to our old tricks, and some new tricks as well. :)

SonomaBento: Belly Left Coast Kitchen And Tap Room is a new spot (taking over the old Checkers location) on Fourth Street in downtown Santa Rosa. The chef/owner has been the Tour Chef for acts such as Motley Crue, KISS, and Linkin Park. Any place named after pork products already gets high marks in my book. Coco and I met to try some of their dishes and see if the late afternoon and evening crowds were onto something at this new eatery.

Coco Carina: What a wonderful addition to the Downtown Santa Rosa foodie scene! First off, the atmosphere inside of Belly: Left Coast Kitchen is great! There is limited seating outside, either at tables or bar style.  One of the outside bars actually faces the inside of the restaurant so you can still enjoy being outside on a nice day but still watch the game on TV.  They have two family-style tables set up in the middle of the restaurant, a nice long bar and smaller tables against the walls.  Also, occasionally they feature live music... and live music makes everything better!  Well... most of the time.

K... now let's get down to the important stuff... THE FOOD!!!

They offer a nice menu with lots of choices that are either great for sharing or great for consuming every last piece of delectableness to yourself.  When we went to Belly we decided we wanted to try as much as we could so we each picked a couple of items and shared. We decided on: The Crab Cake, The Seared Ahi Tuna, The Beet Salad, The Crispy Pork Belly and then we finished it all off with dessert.

SonomaBento: Our first dish was a roasted beet salad with goat cheese, toasted almond slivers, arugula, and micro greens. This was a well balanced salad and very generous portion size ($8). I also like the fact that there were different colors of beets in the salad.

Coco Carina: The Beet Salad - I think even a person who doesn't like beets would like this salad.  It had yummy feta cheese and tomatoes mixed in with the salad and different colored beets.  It was a beautiful presentation and the taste matched.  This was a pretty big salad and there were still some left by the time we were done with our meal.  So again, you're getting a good bang for your buck.

SonomaBento: We also tried the Line Caught Seared Ahi Tuna appetizer, which was gorgeous to look at and had well balanced flavors. The dish came with diced pineapple, and the fish rested on dollops of pureed avocado. It was both rich and refreshing. ($12)

Coco Carina: The Tuna with avocado and Pineapple Salsa was so delicious!  The Ahi was fresh and paired nicely with the avocado puree and pineapple salsa.  Normally I am not the biggest fan of pineapple, but the pairing of all three was a really nice, refreshing and tasty!  I could eat this whole dish to myself!

SonomaBento: The crab cake was a knock out! Our friend Jennifer was also with us at this lunch, so we split all of our dishes three ways and this crab cake was big enough for all of us to have satisfying bites. The Local Dungeness Crab Cake with Salad and Sherry Dijon Aioli ($15) also had a bed of lettuce and pomegranate arils. The crab was moist and there was not too much filler in the cake.

Coco Carina: The Crab Cake was served over a watercress salad - yet another winner here.  This dish was so good!  I've had many crab cakes before and this one is by far my favorite.  If you're planning on sharing, know that it's one big crab cake, not multiple, but you definitely get your money's worth.  The crab meat was nicely shredded and had hints of lemon, it was the perfect amount of crunchy and paired great with the slight bitterness of the watercress salad underneath.

SonomaBento: You can't eat at Belly without trying some pork, so we opted for the Crispy Braised Pork Belly ($20). It was served with roasted fingerling potatoes, sauteed chard, and a delicious hoisin glaze. This was A LOT of pork belly. It was more than enough for the three of us. 

Coco Carina: The Pork Belly - Oh man... what can I not say about the pork belly.  Holy bagezzness - no that's not a word but I had to make up a word for how good this pork belly was.  I mean, so delicious.  There's really no words.  It was presented with two BIG pieces of pork on a bed of cooked and chopped rainbow chard and some rosemary fingerling potatoes.  There was a lot of food on the plate to go around, I was happy that there was enough to go back in for seconds after we each took our first share.  If you're a fan of pork, don't skip this dish when visiting Belly, you seriously won't be disappointed.

Dessert? Yes, Please!

SonomaBento: Dessert was an amazing Chocolate Pot de Creme with Coconut Porter Caramel Sauce and these amazing homemade Twix bars ($7). The dessert was not too sweet, and the Twix bars were so much fun to eat. They got a little melty in the sun, but we ate them quickly, so that wasn't an issue. 

Every dish was beautifully presented, and better yet, tasted great. This is definitely a place to put on your list of places to try, and places to frequent.

Coco Carina: Dessert, it's what everyone looks forward to - the topper to the fantastic meal you just had, so it better be good!  Belly doesn't go outrageous on the desserts, which is nice... they focus on flavor and quality rather than quantity.  We decided to order the Chocolate Pot de Creme which came with homemade twix... yes, homemade twix - which were deeeeeelicious!  The pot was sitting on some yummy cream and blueberries which paired nicely with the chocolate inside.  There was just enough for us to each get a few good bites in of the smooth, creamy chocolate goodness.  It was nice because it wasn't too sweet... you can tell they used the real stuff, not the over-processed chocolate you find other places.

SonomaBento: I haven't eaten at the bar yet, but it has lots of room for people to belly up! (Pun intended)

Coco Carina: Beverages - They have an extensive beer menu at Belly and a nice little wine list too.  Their wine list is not nearly as big as their beer list, but they do have some nice good quality wines to choose from.  For the beer lovers, I think they will be really happy to find the Belly serves up some harder to find beers, such as Ninkasi, Goose Island, Allagash and way more.  They have 26 beers on tap and 25 in the bottle.  If you're a beer lover, you're bound to be pleased with their selection.  Currently they serve only beer and wine but word on the street is that they are going to start offering other drinks made with rice vodka. Everything at Belly that I have tried out so far has been exceptional.  The staff is nice and attentive, the prices are good, and the location is perfect.  Do you and your tastebuds a favor and give Belly a try the next time you decide to go out to eat in Downtown Santa Rosa.

I love this kid, his dad was telling him to photobomb us. LOL 

523 4th Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 526-5787