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Sir and Star at The Olema

American  in  Olema
Written by

Sometimes, everything comes together. The stars align — it’s a perfect night, you’re at a great restaurant, the company is stellar, and all is right with the world.

Sir and Star is the kind of restaurant that can create such sensations. For starters, it’s in the middle of nowhere. To be more specific, it’s in Olema (population: 55), an old Marin County logging town that was a 19th-Century “raunchy row of cardrooms, saloons and establishments of even lesser repute.”

The restaurant itself appears to be housed in one such establishment of lesser repute — the Olema Inn, which has been around since 1876. There are animal heads on the wall, and elaborate candle-arrangement-slash-sculptures to reinforce the point. Point is: the vibe is excellent.

The food holds up its end of the bargain. We hesitate to use the word “rustic” (because what does that really mean?), but it applies here. There are game birds that seem like they might have been shot just hours before, and fish from Bolinas Bay a few miles down the road. We got the impression that a meal at Sir and Star is a lot like what it would be like if a British hunting lodge had hired a really good chef.

They also served mead. This deserves its own paragraph, because we’ve never really had mead at a restaurant. It tastes like a high-class hybrid of champagne and craft beer, and if that doesn’t sound good to you, you haven’t had good mead yet. We predict that mead is going to take the dining world by storm: you’ll soon be seeing headlines about how mead is a “hot food trend.”

And while we don’t normally comment on service unless it’s insanely good or insanely bad, this night fell firmly in the former category. We showed up about 45 minutes early (there’s not a lot to do in town), and were graciously rewarded with snacks, wine, and mead, while whiling away our time in comfortable chairs. It was the perfect pre-meal experience, thanks to some very nice front-of-house staff.

So if you’re in the wilderness of Marin, looking for a place to hang your hat, Sir and Star is it. This is one of the great dining experiences in California.

Food Rundown

Fried Green Tomatoes

A nice Southern dish to start the meal. The tomatoes were nice, but the greens and corn on the side were even better.

Rolls with Seaweed Butter

Goddamn do we love squishy bread rolls. And the extra flavor burst of seaweed-infused butter makes them even better.

Smoked Squash Soup

We’re spoiled for unsmoked squash from now on.

Faux Gras Duck Liver

Silly puns usually don’t lead to good restaurant dishes. This must be the exception that proves the rule. This duck liver outclassed nearly all the goose liver in the game. We’d never suggest it’s a good idea to bring the foie ban back, but if the replacements are this good...

Endives with Potatoes

A few too many potatoes for the paltry serving of endives. But some nice tangy (fancy) ranch dressing.

Lamb Neck

The problem with neck/collar/tail dishes in general is that while they sound cool, the fat-to-meat ratio is way too high. This edition did not escape that problem.

Quail with Stuffing

Better than Thanksgiving? Definitely, if you don’t let familial love cloud your vision.

Lemon Curd with Soft Serve

Ice cream is the best dessert. It’s even better with toppings.

Fudge with Soft Serve

(See above.)

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