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Texas-Sized Tomahawk Steaks Rule Over This New Healdsburg Steakhouse

Chef David Lawrence of San Francisco’s Fillmore 1300 and Black Bark BBQ heads up the new Goodnight’s Prime Steak + Spirits

Dianne de Guzman is a deputy editor at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, upcoming openings, and pop-ups.

For chef David Lawrence, steakhouses are soaked in nostalgia.

Lawrence grew up in London, where his father worked at a number of steakhouses including Berni Steakhouse and the Village Inn, and it is among the first style of restaurants the younger Lawrence later worked at. He’s since held jobs at renowned restaurants including Michelin-starred Le Gavroche with the Roux brothers. He later moved to the States, working at 231 Ellsworth and the Carnelian Room before opening 1300 Fillmore and Black Bark BBQ in San Francisco. Now, Lawrence is returning to his steakhouse roots, leading the kitchen at the new Healdsburg restaurant Goodnight’s Prime Steak + Spirits.

“I think the universe was telling me, ‘Get back into the steakhouse business, David,’” Lawrence says. “And it’s come full circle. I’ve been in the business for 40-something years and I started out in there and now I’m back in it.”


With his foray back into steakhouses, Lawrence is leaning into the classic, grilled dishes for which steakhouses are known — but with a few surprises — while also highlighting the freshness and seasonality of Sonoma. There’s barrel-cut filet mignon, as well as ribeye and New York strip options; but there’s also a chance to expand beyond that with Japanese A5 wagyu, plus a dry-aged tomahawk or bone-in ribeye if diners are looking to share. It’s all fitting for a restaurant named after Texan Charles Goodnight, known for (literally) blazing the Goodnight-Loving Trail from Texas to Wyoming as a cattleman.

Still, there’s much beyond the usual steakhouse options: a raw bar highlights seafood including Humboldt oysters, yellowtail hamachi served with a carrot-ginger nage, gulf prawn cocktail, Russian Royal Osetra caviar, and a seafood tower. Sea bass, lobster thermidor, and house-made linguini also dot the “beyond steak” section, along with sides such as a classic creamed spinach with a poached egg on top, smashed potatoes crisped in duck fat, and Lawrence’s five-cheese mac and cheese. Much of the restaurant’s produce, meanwhile, is grown on a farm at Chalk Hill Estate Winery down the road, promising not only the freshest vegetables but also granting Lawrence the opportunity to work with farmers on producing specific crops such as a grilled rapini for a dish with nori salt. It’s a mix of dishes that is a “nod to the past” but that Lawrence is making new all over again, in his own style, he says.


The drinks are geared toward a meat-loving crowd with an outsized whiskey selection, plus three tiers of whiskey flights, including selections from small-batch distilleries and 10-year-aged options. The cocktail program comes from Devon Espinosa, who attended the Culinary Institute of America before eventually moving behind the bar, and he’s creating a list of drinks that’s both playful and highly appropriate for this meat- and seafood-laden menu. The Duel, for instance, pits the classic Negroni against its bourbon-based cousin, the Boulevardier, so two half-versions of the cocktails are served in rocks glasses, side by side, on a cast iron tray. The 1883 pairs rye whiskey with a spiced pear liqueur from St. George, along with lemon and plum bitters.

The wine selections celebrate wineries local to the Healdsburg area while also making sure more far-flung options are available for locals seeking something from outside their home county. It’s an easygoing, crowd-pleasing mix of food and drink that highlights the Bay Area’s seasonality, in a steakhouse setting, the chef says. “We’re very lucky where we are,” Lawrence says. “This is like god’s playground for food in California, so we’re able to lean into that very much.”

Goodnight’s Prime Steak + Spirits (113 Plaza Street, Healdsburg) debuts on Friday, August 4 and is open Monday through Sunday, 4 to 10 p.m.

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