The incredible Sir and Star restaurant, the amazing Manka's Boathouse

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  • Sir and Star, Margaret Grade and Chef Daniel DeLongs extraordinary new restaurant, located in what was once the historic Olema Inn, was built in 1876 and survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Sir and Star, Margaret Grade and Chef Daniel DeLongs extraordinary new restaurant, located in what was once the historic Olema Inn, was built in 1876 and survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The historic charm of the old Olema Inn shines through with an almost colonial atmosphere at Sir and Star restaurant in tiny Olema, along Rt. 1 in the rolling grasslands of West Marin County. The historic charm of the old Olema Inn shines through with an almost colonial atmosphere at Sir and Star restaurant in tiny Olema, along Rt. 1 in the rolling grasslands of West Marin County. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The entrance foyer at Sir and Star, where matre d' extraordinaire Margaret Grade is seen talking to diners in the next room of this beautifully restored historic building. The entrance foyer at Sir and Star, where matre d' extraordinaire Margaret Grade is seen talking to diners in the next room of this beautifully restored historic building. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • One of the main dining rooms at Sir and Star restaurant in the restored Olema Inn, originally built in 1876, and renovated in 1998 with 100 year old pine floors from a Virginia tobacco warehouse. One of the main dining rooms at Sir and Star restaurant in the restored Olema Inn, originally built in 1876, and renovated in 1998 with 100 year old pine floors from a Virginia tobacco warehouse. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Margaret Grade, seen here through the window talking to guests on the patio, orchestrates the evenings festivities at Sir and Star restaurant in tiny Olema in West Marin County. Margaret Grade, seen here through the window talking to guests on the patio, orchestrates the evenings festivities at Sir and Star restaurant in tiny Olema in West Marin County. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The truly talented Daniel DeLong in his kitchen at Sir and Star restaurant where an ever changing array of culinary creations has dazzled patrons and critics for over a decade. The truly talented Daniel DeLong in his kitchen at Sir and Star restaurant where an ever changing array of culinary creations has dazzled patrons and critics for over a decade. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • "Slow braised shank of goat last seen grazing on local grasses, now amidst Bolinas pea greens and agretti foraged from within reach" is a beautifully astonishing entrée from Chef Daniel DeLong. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • "A bouillabaisse of all things green and gold gathered from local gardens served with a stirring stick of focaccia and aioli" is as delightful as the menu item descriptions at Sir and Star in Olema. "A bouillabaisse of all things green and gold gathered from local gardens served with a stirring stick of focaccia and aioli" is as delightful as the menu item descriptions at Sir and Star in Olema. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Sir and Star restaurant in Olema is located in West Marin County along Rt. 1 in what was once the historic Olema Inn, which was built in 1876 and survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Sir and Star restaurant in Olema is located in West Marin County along Rt. 1 in what was once the historic Olema Inn, which was built in 1876 and survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Manka's Boathouse as seen from the end of the dock with the hills of Pt. Reyes rising in the background on a glorious sunny afternoon in Inverness. Manka's Boathouse as seen from the end of the dock with the hills of Pt. Reyes rising in the background on a glorious sunny afternoon in Inverness. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Manks'a Boathouse as seen from midway out the 200 foot dock on a stunning sunny day in Inverness. Manks'a Boathouse as seen from midway out the 200 foot dock on a stunning sunny day in Inverness. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The stunning interior the living room of Manka's Boathouse in Inverness, with its massive fireplace and high ceilings, on a warm summer night. The stunning interior the living room of Manka's Boathouse in Inverness, with its massive fireplace and high ceilings, on a warm summer night. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The stately impressive dining room at Manka's Boathouse, filled with contemporary art, a massive table, high ceilings, and the aura of a truly extraordinary destination. The stately impressive dining room at Manka's Boathouse, filled with contemporary art, a massive table, high ceilings, and the aura of a truly extraordinary destination. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The view from the back patio looking out into Tomales Bay at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness. The view from the back patio looking out into Tomales Bay at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The lovely open spaces of the living room and massive fireplace at Manka's Boathouse, as seen in the late afternoon. The lovely open spaces of the living room and massive fireplace at Manka's Boathouse, as seen in the late afternoon. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The red library at Manka's Boathouse, one of many large sprawling rooms in this stunning structure, including a comfortable den, full kitchen, vaulted living room, dining room, and two bedrooms. The red library at Manka's Boathouse, one of many large sprawling rooms in this stunning structure, including a comfortable den, full kitchen, vaulted living room, dining room, and two bedrooms. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The beautifully appointed bedroom chamber at Manka's Boathouse. The beautifully appointed bedroom chamber at Manka's Boathouse. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The massive bathtub at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness, as deep as it is beautiful, and in an extra touch, the bathroom is stocked with Kiehls hair products and lotion. The massive bathtub at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness, as deep as it is beautiful, and in an extra touch, the bathroom is stocked with Kiehls hair products and lotion. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The multi level back patio of Manka's Boathouse in Inverness, a stunning hideaway where privacy and sprawling eclectic surroundings and design create an unforgettable experience. The multi level back patio of Manka's Boathouse in Inverness, a stunning hideaway where privacy and sprawling eclectic surroundings and design create an unforgettable experience. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The dock at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness extends several hundred feet into the beautiful waters of Tomales Bay, with the hills of West Marin County in the background. The dock at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness extends several hundred feet into the beautiful waters of Tomales Bay, with the hills of West Marin County in the background. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The Inverness Yacht Club as seen from the end of the dock at Manka's Boathouse. The Inverness Yacht Club as seen from the end of the dock at Manka's Boathouse. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • A small sailboat takes part in a regatta on the waters of Tomales Bay, as seen from the end of the dock at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness near Pt. Reyes. A small sailboat takes part in a regatta on the waters of Tomales Bay, as seen from the end of the dock at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness near Pt. Reyes. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The neighbors office/cabin suspended over Tomales Bay on its own pier, as seen from midway out the 200 foot dock at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness. The neighbors office/cabin suspended over Tomales Bay on its own pier, as seen from midway out the 200 foot dock at Manka's Boathouse in Inverness. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • An old fishing vessel sits beached on the shores of Tamales Bay on the high ground at the Inverness Yacht Club next door to Manka's Boathouse. An old fishing vessel sits beached on the shores of Tamales Bay on the high ground at the Inverness Yacht Club next door to Manka's Boathouse. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • Manka's Boathouse is shrouded in mist on crisp early morning in Inverness, as seen from the dock with a steaming mug of Kona coffee in hand. Manka's Boathouse is shrouded in mist on crisp early morning in Inverness, as seen from the dock with a steaming mug of Kona coffee in hand. Photo by: Alison Reynolds
  • The sun sets over Tomales Bay and shines through the windows of the neighbors cabin suspended over the water as seen from the midway out on the dock at Manka's Boathouse The sun sets over Tomales Bay and shines through the windows of the neighbors cabin suspended over the water as seen from the midway out on the dock at Manka's Boathouse Photo by: Alison Reynolds

POINT REYES, CALIF., Sept 23, 2013 — Margaret Grade and Daniel DeLong have re-emerged into the culinary limelight with their latest landmark destination restaurant, Sir and Star, in the tiny West Marin County crossroads of Olema.

The proprietors of Manka’s Inverness Lodge have purchased the historic Olema Inn, given it a charcoal grey coat of paint, and proceeded to create a wholly distinctive restaurant with the idiosyncratic style they are famous for. From unique starter plates to exquisite main course selections to eclectic menu item descriptions, Sir and Star redefines what makes a restaurant so inspirational that people will clamor for the chance to experience it.


SEE RELATED: A fine dining extravaganza at Gary Danko in San Francisco


Olema is barely a spit in the road, situated along Route 1 in the beautiful rolling grasslands almost equally between the remote hippie haven of Bolinas and the glorious wonders of Point Reyes. The Olema Inn opened originally on July 4, 1876, miraculously survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and was completely renovated as a restaurant in 1998, along with the addition of a century old pine floor from a Virginia tobacco warehouse. 

After the dining lodge at Manka’s burned down 6 years ago, the resurrection by Margaret and Daniel of the Olema Inn last year as their new showcase restaurant represents a complete triumph for them, a return to form where he is the “Sir”, and she is clearly the “Star”.

The interior of Sir and Star retains its historic charm, with simple, almost colonial furniture, polished wood floors, and beautifully restored rooms that ooze classic 19th century sophistication. Margaret Grade is the matre d’ extraordinaire, greeting guests tonight in an almost Mennonite linen dress and knitted beret, drifting from table to table and onto the expansive patio, speaking to diners and orchestrating the evening with flair and panache.

Chef Daniel DeLong mans the wildly busy kitchen, using local ingredients to turn out unique creations that have captured the imaginations of patrons and critics for more than a decade.


SEE RELATED: Elegantly chic: The Huntington Hotel and Nob Hill Spa


The menu changes daily, with plate descriptions that are as ephemeral as they are amusing. Thus “a trio of Drakes Bay oysters served as shots under a cloud of their essence with a baton of coastal kohlrabi” is a light and delicately perfect starter.

“Jesse’s flowering spinach sprigs slightly sautéed and draped over a puree of primarily walnuts” is a mere sprite of an appetizer but a genuinely tasty mouthful.

“Marrow in the bone with a jam of local onions and tale that once wagged nearby” is a brilliant revelation, an otherworldly osso bucco. “The belly AKA bacon of local pork served with fennel and figs on a mission” delivers a sumptuous mission accomplished, like a divine roast Kahlua pork.

“Faux Gras of local duck livers so delicious it should be illegal” is exactly that, and worth being arrested for.


SEE RELATED: Elegantly chic: The Huntington Hotel and Nob Hill Spa


“Slow braised shank of goat last seen grazing on local grasses, now amidst Bolinas pea greens and agretti foraged from within reach” simply astonishes with its beautiful complexity.  “A neighbors quail plumped with kale now nested in leaves of local wild rocket and a bird sauce accented with apricot” is an irresistible delight.

“Crisped Bolinas rock cod fit for two with fennel fronds, charred lemon and a buerre blanc” is a wonderful climax, served whole, and whose delicate meat pares from the fish in tender strips.

Starters are $10, appetizers run $12, and entrée courses are an extremely reasonable $20. Most portions are medium sized, a generous enthralling taste of cuisine that makes its mark, while leaving the desire for more.

Order a variety of dishes and entrees with the idea of sharing, and be sure to explore the all Marin County wine list, although they would do well to have included more profound selections from neighboring Sonoma.

Staying at Manka’s Boathouse nearby is an extraordinary experience, an actual converted boathouse on Tomales Bay right next to the Inverness Yacht Club with its own 200 foot dock. With a sprawling interior, high ceilings, stunning bedroom chamber, distinctive charming décor, and complete privacy, it is easy to understand how it became the favorite secret retreat of celebrities like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston.

A full kitchen, massive dining room, and soaring fireplace in the living room give way to a multi-tiered back deck with astonishing views leading to the lichen covered dock extending well into the bay.

This hidden wonder is the perfect romantic getaway, a grand rustic retreat, a place where its magnificent uniqueness is only exceeded by the splendor of its unquenchable charm.  Sunset on the back porch with a fine bottle of wine is a transformative moment as fiery orange rays gleam off of Tomales Bay and streak through the windows of a neighbor’s cabin suspended over the water.

Rise in the morning and walk to the end of the dock with a steaming mug of fresh Kona coffee, feeling the cool breeze off the water and the mist in the air.

Take in the joy of each moment spent in this spectacular hideaway, and reminisce with a broad smile about the unforgettable culinary wonders of an exhilarating dinner the night before at the truly distinctive Sir and Star.

www.sirandstar.com          www.mankas.com

Joel Berliner is a travel writer who lives in Los Angeles.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Joel Berliner

Joel Berliner is a travel writer based in Los Angeles who has written for The Washington Times, Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Chicago Tribune, Honolulu Advertiser, El Paso Times, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among many other publications.  He is excited to be back where his travel writing career began, at The Washington Times, where along with his wife, photographer extraordinaire Alison Reynolds, they will travel the globe in order to bring you The Good Life.

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