Return to Fine Dining at Erna’s Elderberry House


In a few short months, our friends José and Roya will be first-time parents! This sweet couple has been our rock through the pandemic with every Zoom happy hour and game night around our tiny dining table. When Roya announced her pregnancy, we shouted "road trip!" and promised to take them on one last fancy outing before their little babe enters the world this fall. And we knew just the place to go.

Erna's Elderberry House in the quaint mountain village of Oakhurst, California, is the award-winning restaurant at Chateau du Sureau, a European-inspired hotel and spa just 20 minutes from Yosemite National Park. Three years ago, we visited Erna's with Brandon's family after a day of hiking in the park. Click here to see the beautiful photos from that exquisite nine-course meal.

After the two and a half hour drive from the Bay Area to the mountains, it was a relief to sit in the comfy high-backed chairs, order a cold drink, and chat with the friendly waitstaff about their meal recommendations. We ordered from the four-course prix fixe menu, made with fresh, local ingredients sourced from the many farms in our beautiful breadbasket state.


First up, an amuse-bouche from the chef. Seared tuna with avocado mousse, honey mustard dressing, puffed wild grain and pickled shallot.

An amuse-bouche (pronounced “am-ooz boosh”) is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvreAmuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons but are served for free and according to the chef’s selection alone.

Most multi-course meals open with the amuse-bouche, a dish that can be eaten in one bite and should ideally excite and prepare the palate for the dinner to come. The amuse is normally not counted as a course.


Roya requested a separate amuse-bouche that didn't include raw fish, since most doctors tell pregnant women to avoid raw meat. She enjoyed this spherical tomato gazpacho with crispy pancetta and pickled shallot.


For the first course, we all ordered the tomato and arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette, almond, goat cheese and basil snow. I'm telling you, there's nothing like a perfectly ripe tomato tossed in vinegar to start a meal right.


Rosemary and Kalamata olive bread with butter.


Erna's front entrance with classic French flair and country charm.


In our second course, we all chose different flavors. I savored this crisp garden okra with cucumber tzatziki, local dill, frisée leaf and pickled shallot.


José loved the blue crab cake with carrot slaw, lemon, remoulade sauce and edible flower.


Brandon and Roya felt very regal eating Calvisius caviar with sourdough blini, crème fraîche and chive.


In our third course, Brandon and Roya chose the Brandt Farm's beef ribeye with pommes (potato) purée, green bean, cipollini onion, carrot, and pimentón béarnaise sauce.

He and I shared this delicious Blackberry Margarita made with mezcal, blackberries, lime juice and Cointreau.


José and I opted for the Sonoma lamb loin with lentil bean ragout, fennel, peach, spinach and truffle. So tender!


Back patio dining.


Elderflower Sour cocktail made with gin, lemon juice, elderflower syrup and frothed egg white.


For our fourth and final course, we all passed up the rich chocolate torte and creamy pistachio gelato in favor of this Wicked Harvest Bourbon cheesecake with dulcey-maple mousse, pecan and mission fig. The perfect end to a historic meal.


Our sweet friends and dinner companions, the soon-to-be parents!


Thanks for joining us on our fine dining journey to Erna's Elderberry House! Want to see more mouth-watering pictures? Click here to see photos from the wonderful nine-course meal we ate at Erna's in 2018.