Sequoia Woods is a special treat
By Antoinette May Herndon
It’s a long, long trail a winding from Mokelumne Hill to Sequoia Woods in Arnold, but once you’ve made the commitment, the hour plus drive, adds much to the pleasure of the entire dining experience.
Whoever said “When you’ve seen one tree, you’ve seen them all,” must be mentally challenged One tree does NOT look like every other tree. A drive to Arnold is a journey into the forest primeval, every tree is majestic, beautiful, and in its own way unique. Add to this leafy grandeur the likely possibility of fawn and bunny sightings.
Sequoia Woods is definitely a destination restaurant. The dining room’s symphony of smells and tastes are visually enhanced by its ambience. Floor to ceiling arched windows face out onto a green meadow bordered by towering pines. Be sure and ask for a view table and be certain to arrive before sunset.
Though part of a country club, the restaurant is open to the public. Ashley Sims, our server, was warm and friendly—besides being knowledgeable and efficient. Right from the start Charles and I felt like members of the club. I’d say the only problem was with the menu. It was just too darn inviting. Everything looked wonderful. How was I ever to choose?
shouldn’t be rushed. I ordered a martini to ease my way through the big decisions. It was one of those Goldilocks moments: everything just right. A perfect martini. I relaxed and enjoyed it, now feeling certain that whatever I chose would be perfect too. The martini was $6.50; Charles’s scotch on the rocks, $5.50.
For starters, Charles and I each chose salads. His was a garden salad, mine a Caesar. Each was $6. Both were fresh, crisp and chilled. The Caesar dressing was yet another perfect thing, tasty and delicious.
After some deliberation I ordered my all time favorite dish, rack of lamb ($33). It was cooked exactly to my taste (rare) and the flavor was marvelous. Plate mates were red wine jus, fried spinach and garlic mashed potatoes. The fried spinach was a fun touch, surprisingly piquant. I had a glass of house red (Kenwood pinot noir, $5.50) to sip along with it.
Charles’s selected macadamia nut-crusted halibut with mango salsa and lemon basmati rice ($30). He raved about it. (Not a common occurrence for a strong silent sort of guy.) He accompanied his halibut with a glass of house white (Kenwood pinot grigio).
Tucked away at the bottom of the menu was something that I had not seen in a long time and Charles had never ever seen: profiteroles. This, in case you haven’t run across it,
is a cream puff filled with whipped cream and drizzled with chocolate syrrup. About as high cal as you can get, but awfully good. ($8.50)
The man responsible for all these good thing is executive chef Ryan Nblack. A graduate of the culinary program at Columbia College, he began his career as a banquet chef at the Ironstone Winery. Rick moved on to become head chef at Murphys Grille Restaurant before opening Camps Restaurant at Greenhorn Creek. He’s been with Sequoia Woods for more than 12 years.
Ryan’s stove side assistant are Bill Kenworthy and Donald Strickland.
OK, lest you think that money means nothing to me, let me advise you to the contrary. I consider Sequoia Woods to be quite expensive, a $$$$ restaurant, right up there with Taste and Stanley’s Steakhouse. For me and, I suspect, many others, these are three exceptional restaurants that would be equally popular in San Francisco, New York or London. Once in awhile there’s a special person or a special occasion to celebrate. And doesn’t that require a special restaurant? I think so.
Ashley Sims is an attractive and efficient plus at Sequoia Woods in Arnolds.
The view from Sequoia Woods in also a feast.
Profiteroles are an exciting addition to the menu at Sequoia Woods in Arnold.