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Cyrus Takes Guests on a Progressive Dining Journey

Cover Image for Cyrus Takes Guests on a Progressive Dining Journey
By Sophie Brochu

Cyrus, the ambitious new Wine Country concept from chef Douglas Keane, rejects the idea that fine dining must take place at a static table. Instead, Keane focuses on dining as a journey, starting in a Bubbles Lounge and concluding in a room dedicated to chocolate. With expert choreography and personal touches along the way, Cyrus introduces guests to a roving experience in an unprecedented location. Events director, Amber Keneally, takes us through the progression.

How does an evening at Cyrus unfold?

Guests are at first welcomed into the Bubbles Lounge, where they can order a drink from the champagne & martini cart. Shortly after arrival, canapés begin to appear from the kitchen. There are five bites in the canapé service, each highlighting the five different taste sensations: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami. Diners can then nestle into the lounge or perhaps stroll outside and perch on cushions set up on the rock walls overlooking the vineyards.

After the welcome reception, guests are invited to the Kitchen Table where they interact directly with the chefs for a series of light bites: crudité, sashimi, oysters, uni—and the wine pairing begins. This has been a favorite part of the experience so far. The kitchen is bustling beyond the u-shaped table, and the chefs, including Douglas Keane, serve guests from the center.

The journey then takes the group to the dining room where each separate party is ensconced at their own table. Warm steamed buns and saikyo butter are served.

And then there’s the Chocolate Room, which Sonoma Mag calls “fantastical” and “Willy Wonka-esque.” Can you tell us about it? 

The final stop on the dining journey is the Chocolate Room. This room is dark and mysterious and features a continuously flowing chocolate wall with the Cyrus logo. The delicious aroma of chocolate permeates every corner. Guests are presented with a box of housemade bon-bons from a levitating platform as a final sweet treat.

Photo by Cynthia Glassell.

You’re located in a former prune packing plant. In what ways did Cyrus overhaul the space, or honor its original architecture?

This history was definitely not lost on owners Doug Keane and Nick Peyton. The fact that a food-processing plant existed here so many decades ago is actually the reason the building was granted a restaurant use permit. There aren’t a lot of existing structures that are sitting directly adjacent to vineyards that a restaurant can just come into. And this view of the tops of the vines, this rural setting, these were must-haves for this project. The building owner had kept the silhouette of the original building, so it still has that industrial feel, but our architect and designer, Tom Kundig, brought in warm wooden floors, slatted wood ceilings, kinetic walls, and highly customizable lighting to modernize the space. These features are designed not to distract. The view and the food are the show. We also have a bonsai plum tree in our entryway that pays homage to the prunes of yore.

What are some themes of the menu?

The sweet, sour, salty, bitter, umami expressions are a throwback to the original Cyrus. They are featured in the canapés, but also in the chocolates we gift to each guest at the end of the evening. The chef has also been influenced by Asian cuisine and has an art for designing a menu that keeps diners curious, interested, and satiated, but not over-filled.

In what ways do you draw inspiration from the location and geography?

We’re inspired by rural fine-dining experiences in great wine regions around the world. Cyrus’ mission is to showcase the complete terroir of Sonoma County, not only its grapes, but also its food, people, and natural beauty.

You’re only about a month in. How has the reception been so far?

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with guests calling out the incredible culinary experience as well as the attentive and personable service team. We have just begun executing a third service each evening, and on November 3rd, we will open the Bubbles Lounge to walk-ins.

Reserve Cyrus

TaggedFine Dining

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