Nestled in Fountaingrove Village, Sweet T’s is somewhat of a hidden gem in Santa Rosa. Not only does it offer a full bar and outdoor patio, it also features truly delicious, Southern-style food that’s served with gracious hospitality. And although it’s off the beaten path, the place is usually packed—reservations are highly recommended.
Inside, you’ll find plenty of bar seating as well as a lounge area, which is adjacent to a few booths opposite the open kitchen (which has a few bar seats, too). The main dining area is to the side and offers ample seating for both small and large parties.
We started off the evening with specialty cocktails: a refreshing, light “Pama-tini,” (pomegranate liquor, citrus vodka, sparkling wine) and a sassy “Margarita Texas Style,” which had pineapple juice instead of orange, as well as a pinch of cayenne pepper, resulting in a sweet start and a perfect kick of heat. (I’m totally making my margaritas like this from now on!). Delicious.
If anyone you know says they don’t like Brussels sprouts, they’ve never tried the ones at Sweet T’s. Flash-fried to a perfect golden brown, well spiced and served with plenty of lemon aioli, they’re crunchy, addicting and full of flavor.
The night’s specials included an appetizer of fried green tomatoes (they’ll be available through early fall), which were lightly dusted in a crisp, thin cornmeal layer, drizzled with the restaurant’s signature “get back” sauce (think Creole spices). We found them even more enjoyable than we’d hoped.
The restaurant offers a great selection of barbecued items (George Ah Chin runs the smoker), from beef brisket to pulled chicken or pork, smoked chicken and pork back ribs. Each comes with two side dishes and a biscuit with honey butter. We chose a half-rack of ribs with garlic smashed potatoes (creamy and rich red potatoes with skins) and sautéed okra, corn and cherry tomatoes (sweet and savory). The half-rack portion was very large—I’m thinking if you get the full rack, you’re a rib rock star. The ribs themselves were seriously some of the meatiest, thickest I’ve seen, incredibly tender and served with a mild sauce on the side (as well as hot sauce for those of you who want more of a kick). They were absolutely lovely and paired very well with the 2013 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel.
Next up was the fried chicken dinner, which normally comes with smashed potatoes and cole slaw, but we exchanged those for cream corn (wow—the best ever, hands down; buttery and creamy with plump and sweet kernels) and sweet potato/red pepper/mushroom hash. There were four pieces of chicken (drumstick, wing, breast and thigh), perfectly fried with a golden batter (not too crisp) and flavorful, juicy meat. This is created by brining the chicken prior to cooking, then pressure frying it to order to seal in the goods. Yum.
For dessert, we went for the pecan pie, which was so beautiful when it came out, I almost felt bad digging in. Full of crunchy nuts, it was topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with lots of caramel and had a savory, perfect crust. The key lime pie was just as delightful, with a silky texture and not too sweet or tart flavor, topped with loads of fresh whipped cream.
Hats off to owners Dennis and Anne Tussey (Anne is head chef) as well as the rest of the kitchen, service (thanks to April) and bartending staff for the great atmosphere and wonderful drinks and meal.
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Located at 1410 Neotomas Ave. in Santa Rosa,NorthBay biz magazine is a monthly business-to-business publication covering Napa, Sonoma and Marin counties. This year, the magazine is celebrating 43 years of continuous operation. It originally hit the stands in 1975, when it was called Sonoma Business, and only covered Sonoma County. Norm and Joni Rosinski and John Dennis, acquired it in 2000 and changed its name to cover an expanded market. Today, the magazine is part of Amaturo Sonoma Media Group. More here..