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May 6, 2004 12:12 PM

Auberge du Soleil in Napa

  • m

We live in France and often visit friends in Califoria and are coming again this summer during our wedding anniversary. We were thinking of staying at the Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford for a couple of nights, hoping to get a reservations at the French Laundry for one night and dine in at the Auberge the other night. I just read that the chef at the Auberge du Soleil was due to leave mid-April. We're worried that the dinning at the Auberge won't be the same in this case. Any insights or suggestions regarding the Auberge (both for the restaurant and as a hotel to celebrate our anniversary) or alternatives would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. Just dined at Auberge last week. Am finishing a trip report that I'll probably post in a few days. The Grubs' reaction in brief:
    1. Food was a bit too fussy -- too many ingredients, most of which didn't work very well together. If the chef changes, it may be an improvement. View from deck & dining room looking down the valley is terrific.
    2. Setting is spectacular. You can't go wrong celebrating your anniversary by staying there.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mr Grub

      Auberge is wonderful. We have had a couple of very good lunches there, out on the patio. The views are to die for. I have been hearing really good things about La Toque in Rutherford. Have a great time! ***kim***

      1. re: kim c

        Have to chime in about La Toque. It's about as special as you can get in regards to food and service.

    2. This is a gorgeous place to stay. Setting, views, scents are all excellent. food is hit or miss. Might want to try The Martini House, in St. Helena and also Bouchon (Yountville) for a snack. Gordon's, also in Yountville is a splendid, relaxed place to read the paper and eat brunch. For an Americana experience, Taylor's Refresher has excellent ingredients and fun outdoor seating.
      have an excellent stay.

      2 Replies
      1. re: sailorbuoys

        Last year Gordon's had dinner service on Friday night. It is a cozy room with terrific staff/service and lovely fresh uncomplicated food. Does anyone know if they still offer these dinners? If so, I would highly recommend it if you are there on a Friday evening.

        1. re: sailorbuoys

          Bouchon was nice to look at but crowded and unpleasant seating arrangements. The food was well prepared but did not strike me as particularly interesting. high marks for decor, however.

        2. Just found a copy of Auberge du Soleil menu from a couple of years ago. (Old menus are rare – I never thought to take them home with me. If I did, I threw them away… note to self: bring home a copy, and keep it)

          The food was all right - it bordered on comfort food at fine dining prices. The view and the setting made up for it, though. I recall having a wonderful time with visiting friends.

          Chef's menu

          Prix Fixe

          First Course

          Maine Crab and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Pesto Dressing
          2000 Amity Pinot Blanc Willamette Valley Oregon

          Second Course

          Foie Gras Torchon with a Pistachio Crust, Caramelized Onion and Plum Tart
          1997 Domaine Cady Chenin Blanc Coteaux du Layon-St. Aubin France

          Third Course

          Sauteed Loup de Mer with Corn, Chanterelles, Sorrel and Crisp Garlic
          1999 Landmark “Overlook” Chardonnay California

          Fourth Course
          Roasted Squab, Lavender and Black Pepper Gastrique with Confit of Turnips
          1998 Swanson Syrah Oakville

          Main Course
          Watson Farm Lamb with Olive Oil Crushed Potatoes, Tapenade and Natural Jus
          1998 Pride Merlot Spring Mountain

          Baked Figs in Brioche with Fennel Ice Cream and Port Sauce
          1997 Topaz Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley

          2 Replies
          1. re: grocerytrekker

            A couple years ago . . . before chef Reddington moved on?

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              I can't recall exactly when this was, but it was definitely way before Reddington's departure. And of course reviews of Redd are wonderful, so I am thinking perhaps I underestimated Auberge du Soleil ("don't hate me because I'm beautiful") back then? On the other hand, menu at Redd looks very different, so I am looking forward to trying it.

          2. The total experience of staying at Auberge du Soleil will probably balance out the meal there. Just order something of relatively simple prep because the food is rich...however if you're French it might be a completely different context. As a Californian I found things super rich. I had foie gras there and it made me a little sick. The accomodations are however as nice as the reviews.

            1 Reply
            1. re: ML8000

              I had lunch at Auberge last week. The view is still amazing. But, the food was too fussy for Napa -- almost contrived. Very little Napa-style. More of an upscale wannabe. Restaurant did not make the SF Chronicle's top 100 released last week. Also, there was a lot of construction noise due to the rebuilding of the pool area.

              The hotel is beautifully located with gorgeous grounds. The hotel prices are tops in Napa --$900+.

              If you have the bucks, I'd stay there but probably eat elsewhere (Redd, Bouchon, Ad Hoc, etc.).

              Hope this helps.