Restaurant Maintains Quality Food & Wine With Holman Ranch Owners
When the fine folks of Holman Ranch winery and estates purchased Will’s Fargo restaurant in Carmel Village there was – as is often the case when a long-standing legend changes hands – a gasp of concern among some locals.
But they needed not to worry.
The Louder family are locals, too. And they want nothing more to preserve what has been for decades a traditional dining treat for residents throughout Monterey Bay and also for tourists, especially ones who come here for the many wine tasting rooms (including one for Holman Ranch).
And so that is the case with this steakhouse and bar, known for its huge steaks and great service in a Western-style ranch atmosphere.
Will’s Fargo goes back to the time when there were actual ranches in Carmel Valley until someone discovered the area is ideal for growing grapes and it exploded as a wine-growing region.
The Louders kept the entire staff – they pride themselves on providing not just quality service but a great experience for guests – and the fine food and steaks, which are from Nebraska cattle, the finest in the U.S.A.
What they will be doing is adding a wine tasting room for a new premium lineup of its already premium Holman Ranch wines, called Jarman.
Walk into Will’s Fargo and it resembles an upscale saloon. There’s a small bar to the left with historic black-and-white photos on the wall.
The dining area is intimate in size, low-lit, relaxing and peaceful. And be sure to check out the old photos in the bathroom; it’s like stepping into an old-fashioned photo booth!
You MUST start your dinner with the French Onion Soup, a delight of flavors below a thick layer of melted cheese. How many places have French Onion soup these days? And it’s only $5!
The steaks, thick and juicy, are a 10-ounce prime Angus sirloin ($17), a 14-ounce rib eye ($21), 16-ounce Kansas City ($24), a 20-ounce Porterhouse ($34) and Filet Mignon (5 ounce, $19, 8 ounce $24). Notice those prices; for beef of this quality in such a quality environment, this is a tremendous value. Yes, it’s a le carte but sides are just in the $5 range.
A highly recommended side is the mac ‘n cheese. And, of course, the garlic bread.
The menu goes beyond the steaks, tho, so there’s literally something for everyone. PubClub.com had the very juicy Grilled Sonoma Free Range Chicken. Normally we’re skittish about ordering chicken even in fine restaurants because too much of the time it comes out dry. But not at Will’s Fargo.
There’s also pasta, roasted quail, a roasted rack of lamb, fish and lobster. And all at these mild prices ($20-35).
Enjoy it all with the wonderful Holman Ranch wines, bold in flavor but very smooth in delivery (the Pinot Noir is a speciality).
And then sit back, take your time and enjoy the this traditional restaurant. With a rustic twist.
WILLS FARGO RESTAURANT
• Address: 16 W. Carmel Valley Road, Carmel Valley, CA
• Phone: (831) 659-2774
• Hours: Dinner only. Opens at 4:30
• E-Mail: [email protected]
• Dress: Casual but nice