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napa restaurants with decent portions-please review my choices

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We are going to Napa in 2 weeks. My choices so far are: Terra, martini House, Cindy's backstreet Kitchen, Rutherford Grill, Bistro Jeanty,Hurleys. We enjoy well prepared dishes but dislike small portions. For example,I would consider a 6 to 8 ounce New York strip costing $30 or more a ripoff. Similarly,I enjoy well prepared fish but if its 6 ounces or less I will be unhappy regardles of how good it is. I'm Ok with a 10-12 ounce steak or 8-10 ounce fish.Obviuosly, I do not enjoy expensive tasting menus. Thanks.

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  1. i highly recommend bistro jeanty. it is my favorite restaurant in napa. and to your concern, the portions are not small and i believe everything on their menu is under $30. the only thing i would not get is their pasta of the day since i've always been disappointed by them. i highly recommend the tomato soup in puff pastry and the pork belly over lentils and the coq au vin with a side of their buttered egg noodles. also the food their is really rich so i doubt you will leave feeling hungry.


    1 Reply
    1. We were in Napa Valley last week. Thought Cindy's was mediocre, but enjoyed Zinsvalley in Napa. Hidden in a strip mall on Brown's Valley road, was a breath of fresh air. Good, reasonably priced food, NO corkage. A real down home place among the phoney spots. Excellent American Kobe beef steak. Good calamari frites. Caesar salad a disappointment.

      1 Reply
      1. re: OldTimer

        What did you find mediocre at Cindy's? I really enjoyed my meal there and would like to know if there are any dishes worth avoiding.

      2. Well, I guess you're going to get some conflicting advice...

        I thought Bistro Jeanty was dreadful, I loved Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, I really liked Market Restaurant (though I need to go again before I render a complete verdict), and I thought Bistro Don Giovanni was fine, though not necessarily worth a visit. In a visit a year ago, I loved Bouchon and would definitely recommend it over Bistro Jeanty if you are looking for a French Bistro. I think that Cindy's delivered in the price:portion size:quality ratio.

        I highly recommend a visit to Round Pond Olive Oil.

        Anyway, here are my reports to elaborate:

        Cindy's: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Jeanty: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Market: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        Round Pond (and other olive oil):

        Bouchon (one year old): http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

        1. I prefer Mustard's Grill to Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen, and the portions are ENORMOUS! Don't miss the pork chop with mustard sauce and the lemon-lime meringue pie. Makes me hungry just thinking about it....


          1 Reply
          1. re: AmySherman

            We were in Napa this summer and ate at Mustard's and Cindy's. I think they have the same owner as the menus were very similiar. Both were great, and excellent value. A real standout for lunch after a long walk was Taylor's Automatic Refresher. I adored the Ahi Tuna Burger with the asian coleslaw. Messy, but delicious and very fresh.

          2. My husband and I got married in May and held our tiny, tiny (14 people) wedding "reception" at Celadon, a locals' favorite in downtown Napa. They serve what they call "global comfort food" and it's oh-so-good.

            On the two occasions we dined there before choosing it for our wedding meal we were seated next to chefs from other Napa restaurants who were dining there with their families.

            The service is wonderful and the wine list is a good value. They offer a "buy a bottle, free corkage on a bottle", which was a money-saver at our wedding.

            We feel we really found a hidden gem. Perhaps I shouldn't tell you about it? ;-) Don't tell anyone else!

            1. how about ad-hoc? thomas keller's new joint serving fantasy comfort food? pretty good sized portions but i'm not sure what the pricing is like.

              3 Replies
              1. re: wchane

                Ad Hoc is a four course prix fixe for $45. It's a bargain for how much food you get. The only downside (if you think of it that way) is that there is only one menu for the night. They do accomodate vegetarians. I wouldn't suggest you go if you are doing low carb, low cal, no gluten, etc.

                Here is an example of the menu, from what they're serving tonight:

                First Course: Little Gems Salad

                Entree: Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Garlic Smashed Potatoes, and Corn on the Cob

                Hooks 5 Year Cheddar

                Coconut Cream Pie

                1. re: Non Cognomina

                  Now, that was the menu I wanted to see when I tried to go to Ad Hoc. I totally respect the fixed menu thing. I just wish they'd post the menus a few days in advance. I'm not about to drive up to Napa on a complete whim, but give me a couple days notice for fried chicken and coconut cream pie and I'm there.

                  1. re: Morton the Mousse

                    Morton, you can call to hear the menu. I think they put it on their voice message at the end of the previous day. I agree with you that's my dream menu, but alas all of my regularly scheduled dining partners were engaged this evening and I thought it would be too sad to sit by myself throught that kind of a meal. Funny how certain kinds of "comfort" food are only comforting when shared with another person.

                    To hear the menu, call them at (707) 944-2487. I believe you get the menu if you press option #3.

              2. Reply to Morton the Mousse...window above does not work right.

                My hanger steak was inedibly tough. The waiter was gracious in replacing it with a better one. My wife disliked her meat loaf immensely, especially the cloyingly sweet sauce that overpowered the dish. Her beans were quite undercooked. On the plus side, the caesar salad was excellent...overdressed to some tastes, but perfect for me.

                2 Replies
                1. re: OldTimer

                  Morton: which restaurant are you referring to? Thanks.

                2. Personally, Bistro don Giovanni is one of, if not my favorite Napa Valley resturants. The beet salad is terrific, as well as the lemon ravioli and frito misto. And, I prefer Bistro Jeanty over Bouchon - so there you go, conflicts already! Celadon is terrific, but depending on where you're staying, it could be quite a drive (Calistoga to Napa is about 30 miles). Forget Rutherford Grille - it's a chain...there are so many better choices. Terra is an experience, but very expensive...I've not been to Ad-Hoc...sounds interesting.

                  1. Consider a lunch at Boon Fly Cafe. The flatbreads/pizzas are delicious and
                    under $12. The reuben sandwich is enough for two, as is the chef salad.
                    Since there were only two of us that day, we had a lot left over. I haven't
                    tried dinner there. It's PlumpJack, if that's an issue. Nice somewhat offbeat
                    collection of wines by the glass

                    Located way down, south end of the valley. On 12 near Domaine Carneros
                    and the Di Rosa preserve, if you happen to be at that end of things. It's
                    attached to the utterly weird Carneros Inn, which seems to be less of an inn
                    and more of a trailer park. Or field strewn with shipping containers.


                    1. Bouchon is the favorite. Eat there 3-4 times a month, bakery is yummy! adhoc is the new kid, great food! Call them and get the menu. Have been 3x. Redd, excellent, but loud. Cindy's, very hit and miss, bad service. The manager clomps through the room and slufs around. Rutherford Grill, it is what it is, easy, simple and pretty good food, no corkage. Go Fish (Cindy's new place) been 2x, will try one more time. Very disapointing. CC Bleu in St. Helena, great sushi. Home town feel. Julia's kitchen at Copia, hidden gem. Only go if Victor is cooking. Let him cook @ chefs table. Brix, not-so-much. Mustards, good. Tra Vigna, why can they not get it right?? Market, needs some attention from owners, should serve breakfast. New manager not so good. Cook, good Italian comfort food. Martini house, best Kobe burger in the bar. Upstairs, a bit $$$, and chef scowels at guests. Auberge for drinks, have not been with new chef. Taylors, over priced, but great milk shakes! Tomatino, OK pizza. Have not been, but hear Pizza Azzura in Napa is good. NV, good, but can not eat next door to Mervyn's. Don Giovani, do not know what the hype is about, so salty. Bistro Jeanty, good food, bad room. Hurley's & Compadre's, stay far away. Celedon, so-so. Cole's $$$ and just OK. Fume, great roadside food. Hostess is rude. Best chocolate chip cookie in the Valley, Gordon's. Need to try Zinsvalley (bad name).

                      1. I just got back from Napa and had great dinners with large portions at Bistro Jeanty, Mustards,and Martini House. All three were equally good in different ways. Hurleys was good but not like the other three places and my portion of elk loin, while excellently prepared was pitifully small for $29.

                        1. I agree with the Mustards Grill suggestion. The portions are perfect. In addition to the pork chops, the onion ring starter is fabulous!