First-class Japanese hospitality set deep in picture-perfect Californian wine country


On the Pass

Kyle Connaughton

What makes it special: Led by husband and wife team Kyle and Katina Connaughton – a chef and farmer respectively –  SingleThread is a destination restaurant in Northern Californian wine country that combines Kyle’s unique Japanese cuisine with fresh ingredients grown on Katina’s smallholding. Paying tribute to ancient Japanese ryokans, or ‘inns’, the restaurant is an intimate setting where exquisite attention is paid to every detail. The restaurant is set within a luxury boutique hotel where Kyle also serves an unmissable in-room Japanese breakfast.

All about ‘omotenashi’: SingleThread works according to the Japanese concept of going above and beyond to anticipate a guest’s needs, with thoughtful extras such as complimentary charcoal toothbrushes in the hotel rooms, and gold-standard thin-lipped stemware glassware.

How the menu works: Beginning with a first course comprised of myriad small snacks arranged beautifully on a wooden board, the tasting menu at SingleThread then moves through 10 further courses of kaiseki-style dining. The latest iteration, entitled ‘Mid Spring in Sonoma’, encompasses everything from duck with strawberry and beetroot, spiced carrot accompanied by chervil milk, and black cod with a side of peas and yuba. For dessert, don’t miss the standout combination of rhubarb and chamomile.

Meet the Connaughtons: After beginning his career as an apprentice at a Japanese restaurant in Southern California, chef Kyle worked under acclaimed chefs including Michel Bras and Heston Blumenthal, while farmer and floral designer Katina lived in Japan and Europe, studying culinary and farming techniques. The couple opened SingleThread in December 2016, winning the One To Watch Award for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018.