New food in Old Courthouse Square: Perch + Plow


Photo by Abraham Fuentes.

Abraham Fuentes, Staff Writer

At 90 Old Courthouse Square lies a tucked-away stairwell, the entrance to Perch + Plow’s second floor location. Three massive windows let in natural light and provide a beautiful view of Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square. A great place for a date or to hang out with some friends during happy hour.

Perch + Plow is a restaurant and bar with a limited menu that opened on February of this year.  My first experience with Perch + Plow was on Saturday 5th with a friend. We ordered ceviche and crudo from the Raw section of their menu, grilled octopus from their Small Plates section and for dessert, carrot cake with buffalo milk gelato.

The best thing during my visit was the dessert. The carrot cake was fluffy and sweet but otherwise standard, what made this dessert special was the paring. The buffalo milk gelato was drizzled with olive oil and creamier than any gelato I’ve ever had. There was a mozzarella after taste that went well with the carrot cake. This dessert was something I’ve never before experienced. I was afraid of trying it, but this dish is a must if you go to Perch + Plow.

The ceviche was cod, lime juice, sweet potato and a light mango sauce. The sweet potato came in two forms, soft and lightly spicy sweet potato chunks and crispy chips. It was acidic and sweet. The flavor worked well with the dish.

The crudo was the opposite, salty and with more of a traditional seafood taste. The fish was thinly sliced with some radish for garnish. The flavors combined perfectly. The ceviche and crudo were beautifully prepared. It showed that the cook cared for the food, not only on taste but presentation.  

The grilled octopus was our main dish. The sauce paired well with the octopus tentacle, and the meat itself was tender. The sauce had a soup-like consistency that made it easy to eat the octopus. The plate had the sauce spread out and the octopus tentacle in the middle, it was the first thing you see and the first to be eaten.

For such a small menu, Perch + Plow offers a variety of dishes; from steak frites which is a little pricey for a college student at $22 on the Large Plate section, to their house burger at $16. The prices are in the middle where you don’t have to worry about finding something in your budget. It is comparable to restaurants in the area.  

Still, this is a great place for a date or to hang out during happy hour, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. With reduced prices on two beers at $4, three wine selections at $7 and specialty drinks at $6; also with food choices at $5: fish tacos (rock cod, pineapple salsa and chipotle aioli), mac + cheese (white cheddar + fontina, bacon and breadcrumbs) and 5 spice chicken wings.

The selection of wines is decent and the beer selection is small but great for the size of the restaurant. I can say this is not a bar where you want a beer but more of a classy or refreshing drink. They have different choices of cocktails and are willing to custom-mix cocktails upon request. I would gladly review this drinks but at the moment I can’t. I am not 21.