Get treated like family at Kentfield’s The Guesthouse

Morgan Salzer

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 Opening a restaurant is risky business. There is a lot of thought that must be put into the whole ordeal. Where will the location be? What demographic will it serve? Who will do the cooking? How does it deal with food allergies? And of course, will the public even like the restaurant enough to keep it running? With a 60 percent fail rate within the first year, according to Daniel’s College of Business, a new eatery owner must be resilient, passionate and have some previous experience. The Guesthouse, a new high-end American cuisine restaurant in Kentfield that opened on Oct. 30th, houses all of these traits, making it a worthy dining experience.

 

The Guesthouse may be new, but the collective knowledge of its employees has already created a well-oiled machine in the restaurant. Head chef and co-owner Jared Rodgers has spent many years cooking in professional kitchens. Dustin Sullivan, co-owner of Guesthouse, has spent his entire life working in the restaurant industry. From bussing tables at the Cheesecake Factory during his high school years at Tam to owning his own establishment, Sullivan has seen what it takes to make a restaurant thrive and has a clear vision for his, which he executes with gusto.

“I want [customers] to feel like [they’re] coming into [a] friend’s house and [their] friend just happens to be a really good cook. [The Guesthouse is] super welcoming and warm and inviting; it’s like throwing some really beautiful food on the grill among friends and family. That’s why we call it the Guesthouse,” Sullivan said.

The atmosphere completely lives up to Sullivan’s desires. His passion in creating the restaurant is shown in every aspect— the interior design, the handpicked waitstaff and especially the menu. The food options themselves include different variations of classic American meals, and accommodate different diets such as vegetarian and gluten free. For appetizers, I decided to order the lobster rolls and the crab cakes from our waitress, who was hospitable when taking our order and quick to make conversation.

Patagonia King Salmon served over quinoa and farro.

It only took five minutes for our appetizers to arrive. Both the lobster rolls and the crab cakes were presented in a minimalistic yet sophisticated way, supporting the high-class theme of the restaurant. The lobster rolls had a welcome contrast between the warm bread and the meaty lobster. The dish was able to play on all parts of my palate, making it one of my new favorite appetizers. The crab cakes were light, with a crusty outside that yielded to a softer middle. Retaining its most traditional qualities, this dish was welcomingly refreshed with the addition of sweet sauces and olive oil.

For an entree, I ordered the Patagonia King Salmon. Once again, the turnaround time from order to arrival was quick. The salmon was served over a bed of farro and quinoa with pesto and fresh sprigs as a garnish. The fish absorbed the flavors of the farro during the cooking process, elevating its natural oils and flavor. It was cooked lightly, but not undercooked, allowing the fish to remain moist with a crispy outside. The grains were sweet and salty, matching the flavor of the salmon. This blending of flavors gave the dish an overall balanced taste and left me satisfied.

Lobster roll appetizers served warm.

The Guesthouse’s use of quality ingredients and masterful cooking did add up to an about  $25 a plate, putting the restaurant out of an average high schooler’s price range. This being said, the Guesthouse makes for an alluring place, appropriate for special occasions such as a birthdays or an anniversary dinner. The establishment succeeds in turning an old building into a lovely dining experience.

“I live in Greenbrae, I’m a local guy.” said Sullivan, “I knew this location had a lot of potential. I knew it needed a little tender love and care, but I also knew we could turn it into something really special.”