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Cox: Going beyond comfort food at Bruno's on Fourth

  • The Friday night special of smoked prime rib with fried onions and peppers and a twice-baked potato is served at Bruno's on Fourth in Santa Rosa. (CONNER JAY / The Press Democrat)

Bruno's on Fourth in Santa Rosa bills its cooking as “American Comfort Food,” which brings to mind burgers and fries, meatloaf and fried chicken. But owner and chef Rick Bruno takes his menu far beyond home-grown clichés to pull in dishes from other countries and around the world.

It's American comfort food, if by American you mean the polyglot of nationalities and ethnicities that come together in the U.S. Here on the menu are Mexican pork quesadillas hobnobbing with Italian calamari fritti, Chinese hoisin pork ribs socializing with English fish and chips, French salmon almondine making peace with German roast pork, apples and potatoes.

Bruno's has another feature very much sought after: It serves Sunday brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., with dishes like Dungeness crab benedict, huevos rancheros, buttermilk biscuits with country gravy, and corned beef hash with eggs.

Bruno's On Fourth


That's not all. Kids eat free dinners every Tuesday through Thursday. The kids' menu starts with cheese, crackers and vegetables, and then offers a choice of salmon, calamari, chicken tenders, mac and cheese with ham, cheeseburger, or grilled cheese sandwich. Friday through Sunday, the kids' dinner is just $7.75.

Bruno's isn't a big restaurant. The building is a square box, separated in the middle by a service bar with four stools. The front dining room holds nine tables, and you can see back into the kitchen through a passage behind the bar. Reservations aren't required, but are probably a good idea, given the restaurant's cozy size.

The wine list isn't extensive, but it is nicely priced. A large wine glass with a generous pour of a sound red like Hook & Ladder's “Tillerman Red” costs $8.50. A Matanzas Creek Merlot is $28 a bottle, Twomey Russian River Pinot Noir is $58, and a Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon is $40. Corkage is $12.

Service is competent but can slow considerably when the room fills up.

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