Chef's Corner

Featured Chef


Chef Jeff Reilly

Executive Chef - Equus Restaurant

Chef Jeff's Recipes

Panna Cotta with Grand Marnier Soaked Berries
Pistachio Crusted Halibut with Pesto Orzo, Sweet 100 Tomatoes and Pea Shoots
Avocado & Dungeness Crab Salad with Basil Oil and Blood Orange Vinaigrette


Walking into the elegant and modern lobby of the Fountain Grove Inn is a delight for returning and new guests alike.  One immediately experiences a feeling of calmness that overtakes them inspired by the Feng Shui-like atmosphere.  The giant skylight ceiling, rock walls, serene wall-length waterfall and the warm rich Tuscan colors help create this special mood at this distinguished hotel. 


Located in Santa Rosa the hotel is in the heart of the northern California wine country and famous Russian River wine appellation.  The rugged Sonoma Coast, the quaint town of Healdsburg, Napa Valley and the historical town of Sonoma are all within a half hour drive from the hotel.  The Golden Gate Bridge is also a short fifty-three miles south of the hotel.  Guests can enjoy the deluxe, comfortable guest rooms equipped with all the luxuries of home, including a long list of amenities and services such as an outdoor heated Lap Pool, Whirlpool Spa, sundeck, workout room, Wi-Fi and a business center.    

Across from the lobby is Equus Restaurant and Lounge.  The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner and each morning breakfast is served for hotel guests.  The unique origin and concept behind the Equus Restaurant is explained as follows: “In dream and myth, the horse is archetypal symbol of life and winged bearer of mere mortals to places beyond their reach.  The architects of this unique Inn and Restaurant were faced with a challenge: integrating powerful historic forces with modern even futuristic expectations, making the horse not a mere decorative element, but a thread of continuity—the striker of a chord within the human psyche, integrating nostalgia for an agrarian past with aspirations for a future as limitless and exhilarating as space itself.  Equus, thundering through history from cave walls to dressage halls, is a metaphor for all that the human spirit hopes to be.”  


Executive Chef, Jeff Reilly, spent more than a decade as the Executive Chef of the Duck Club Restaurant at the Bodega Bay Lodge & Spa.  While there, Chef Reilly elevated the dining experience exponentially earning the coveted Five Star Diamond Award from the Academy of Hospitality Sciences for both himself and the restaurant and joined the ranks of culinary luminaries Alain Ducasse and Thomas Keller and dining outlets such as Le Cirque and Essex House, both in New York.  His efforts have also garnered several local awards including two “Best of Show” awards at the Kendall Jackson Tomato Festival and a Double Gold Medal and numerous Silver Medals at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair.


Formally trained, Jeff was schooled through the New Orleans Regional Chef’s Apprenticeship Program under Master Chefs Michelle Marcais and Daniel Bono.  Following his education, he traveled to Europe and honed his culinary skills working for restaurants in Torino Italy.  Stateside, his experience includes positions with Bix, Bistro Roti and the Fog City Diner, all in San Francisco.


Passionate about his trade and the opportunity to share his skills with his peers, Chef Reilly paired with the California Wine Institute for their annual culinary exchange, and has spent the last four years sharing the tastes and flavors of California with flavor fusions from his European counterparts.  


Equus Restaurant has long maintained a simple culinary charter: provide a stellar dining experience in a contemporary and sophisticated setting.  Chef Reilly’s talents match that directive.  The restaurant’s seasonal menu will highlight the best of what’s grown and produced locally, and feature full-flavor comfort foods to satisfy the palate of even the most discriminating guest.  


In every significant restaurant a friendly and knowledgeable Sommelier awaits each guest’s arrival.  Larry Van Aalst is the Sommelier you will surely meet while dining at Equus.  Larry is a life-long Sonoma County resident with ties to the earth having grown up on a ranch.  He was educated in both California and Europe making him a worldly traveler who still calls Sonoma County his home.  Larry is a true star within the California wine scene and beyond, winning Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence seven times for his extraordinary wine lists.  His wine list at Equus has won “Best of Show” in several Sonoma County Harvest Fair competitions and Larry is also known as Iron Sommelier in many posh resorts and hotels.  He is also a professional wine judge, with the West Coast Wine Competition, Riverside International, El Dorado Wine Competition and the San Francisco Chronicle competition as some of his favorites.  Guests of the Restaurant and Loungebar can also catch a live radio show that is broadcast from the restaurant on Wednesday evenings.  To tune into one of Larry’s shows, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine – The Sonoma Report,” log on to CRN Digital talk radio, go to hosts, click on his name and you will find the listing of channels and times for his program.  For over a decade Equus has been proud to have Larry standing by to choose the perfect wine for any occasion and all menu selections.    


The Loungebar has a very upbeat urban atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind after a busy day visiting wineries and sightseeing.  Happy Hour is Monday through Thursday from 4:30pm to 6:30pm with “Reverse” Happy Hour from 9:30pm to 10:30pm.  Live Jazz can be heard every Saturday night from 7:00pm to 10:30pm and Tuesdays are known as $2.00 Tuesdays.  Delicious appetizers and beer are served for $2.00 each.  The Lounge also features “Wine Down Sundays” when all wines ordered by the bottle are 40% off and on Fridays from 5:30pm to 6:30 pm a wine tasting is offered complimentary by the selected winery of the month. 



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