Go Inside the New Zazu Kitchen + Farm at The Barlow in Sebastopol
Chef Duskie Estes is known nationally as a fearless Next Iron Chef contender but at heart, she’s a hometown girl. When she and husband John Stewart sought a new home for their popular Zazu Restaurant + Farm, they chose The Barlow in Sebastopol, not only because it was a “community of makers,” but because most of the current tenants were longtime friends, such as Kosta Browne Winery, Greg La Follette, and Village Bakery. The renamed Zazu Kitchen + Farm, which opened yesterday, is as open, interactive, and creative as the community itself.
At Zazu Kitchen, the couple brings their culinary values of “knowing the face that feeds you.” At the former restaurant, a cozy space with low ceilings, Duskie and John loved the long counter where they would spend hours interacting with their customers. For Duskie, it was the “heartbeat and warmth” of the restaurant. At Zazu Kitchen, a large, U-shaped counter is now the heart of the dining room, made intimate with dropped lighting and long wood planks that mimic a low ceiling. Barnwood paneling and board and batten counterfaces add to the feeling that the food is direct from the farm.
Porcine paraphernalia pop up everywhere, reminding guests that Duskie and John are literally the Queen and King of Pork, having won the titles at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic’s Grand Cochon. That honor is commemorated in a large crown sculpture installed above the open kitchen, a focal point of the dining room. Also paying homage to the hog is local junk artist Patrick Amiot, whose playful pig’s head sculpture made of recycled oil drums and propane tanks will be installed soon.
The gleaming open kitchen, real butcher block tabletops, and the renaming of the restaurant to Kitchen + Farm, all put the emphasis on “makers.” Duskie and John dedicated a surprising 50% of the square footage of the new restaurant to the kitchens so that they and staff can make their own salumi, bacon, pasta, gelati, and more. In addition to the ingredients the couple source from their own three acres and other local farmers, they will cultivate another one-third acre on-site at The Barlow where customers will be able to pick their own produce for some dishes.
And while Zazu does swine especially fine – consider the Snout-to-Tail Sampler, Sticky Finger Pig Tails, and Pig Face “poutine” (with confit fries no less) – the menu is quite diversified with vegetables, chicken, rabbit, duck, and beef dishes - quite local, all mouth-watering. Look forward to their signature cocktails too, such as the Bacon + Eggs made with whiskey sour, Black Pig bacon bourbon and farm egg, or a rum-based Gravenstein Revival with crystallized ginger and Gravenstein apple cider.
The new Zazu Kitchen + Farm is located at 6770 McKinley Street, Sebastopol, open Wednesday – Sunday for lunch (brunch on weekends) and Wednesday – Monday for dinner.