Individuals who follow me on Facebook may remember that I briefly mentioned stopping for a quick bite at the then newly re-opened Buckhorn restaurant in Boonville, California a few months ago. Recently I had the opportunity to call in again and enjoy a very satisfying experience and thought that it was time to share a more in-depth review.
The Buckhorn is helmed and operated by Chef and Owner Tom Towey who has put together menus that offer familiar fare with some delicious and unique twists. Open every day for lunch and dinner (except Tuesday and Wednesday) and for Saturday and Sunday Brunch, the Buckhorn has a cozy pub/club dining room and plenty of patio and deck seating. The patio is just perfect for soaking up the village feel of this gem of a town in the company of visitors and locals.
On a warm late spring evening, the uprights and I settled among several other diners at one of the outdoor patio tables. In short order a bus person arrived and set up place settings and brought water to the table. He asked if we would like water for me and of course, we said “yes” and shortly a delicious bowl of cool water was placed in front of me to savor. Soon our server arrived with menus and told us about the specials of the evening. He offered to give us some time to study the selections and said he would return shortly.
Looking over the menu I was torn between ordering the venison burger or the buffalo burger. My upright dads decided to go with the local Salmon Caesar Salad and the Ruben with a side of Sweet Potato Fries (yum, my favorite). Soon our server returned; we were just about to give him our order when a woman leaned over the railing from above the patio and in a loud excited voice said, “Is that Hairy Putter, oh my gosh – he does restaurant reviews!” Oops, my cover was blown. I had made the mistake of taking off my dark glasses disguise (a la Ruth Reichl) and my identity was revealed. The waiter looked up at the woman and she said, “Tom, this is Hairy Putter and he wrote a nice comment on Facebook about the Buckhorn, in fact, he is famous. I follow him and his reviews and he produces a great Pet Friendly Guide to Mendocino County.” So, our waiter was actually the owner, Tom, and the lady a regular diner and friend of Tom’s. Well, I felt like a true celebrity, she even came down to the patio to visit with me. Her name was Caroline and she lives in Sonoma County but travels to Mendocino regularly. I so enjoy meeting my followers; they are always so nice to come over and pat me and say sweet kind things.
The Buckhorn was out of venison that night so buffalo it was and was it tasty. My dads’ food was equally good. Grilled to perfection, moist, flaky salmon adorned a generous helping of crisp romaine lettuce that had been tossed in a delightfully creamy dressing with hints of garlic and anchovy. The Ruben was a generous sandwich with flavorful and tender corned beef, melted Swiss cheese and crisp sauerkraut. Insiders’ tip; the sweet potato fries were crisp on the outside, warm and soft on the inside and lightly dusted with brown sugar that combined beautifully with the natural sweetness of the sweet potato. They were paired with a sauce made with mayo, molasses, and buffalo wing hot sauce that made these fries out-of-this-world delicious. We enjoyed our meal very much; in fact, I can’t wait to go back to try the Weekend Brunch.
The Buckhorn serves a nice variety of beers, many crafted in the area in both 13 oz. and pints. The wine list is very comprehensive and has a balanced selection from some of the most popular award winning local wineries.
Tom was gracious and kind – he confessed that The Buckhorn is new to the doggy dining scene. So please make sure that if you go that you are in a good mood and on your best behavior. As with any place we travel we want to make sure that we are welcome back time and again. Boonville can now boast another great eating establishment that welcomes canine diners at their alfresco dining areas and I just can’t stop barking about that. Tell them “Hairy sent me!”
The Buckhorn Boonville
14081 Highway 128, Boonville, CA