ISO lunch and dinner recommendations in Napa
My husband and I are going to Napa next week for a few days and are looking for a place for DINNER on Thursday night (anywhere near Yountville) and LUNCH on Friday (anywhere between Calistoga and Yountville.)
Ideas? We're doing dinner on Friday at Bouchon... Help! And Happy Holidays!
Lunch: I like two in particular. First is Mustard's Grill. A Napa Valley classic. Pork chop and duck are fabulous. A casual, noisy standby -- always fun and well located. The second is Redd in Yountville. This is a crisper, more upscale minimalist place. Excellent. But, I prefer it for lunch because it's more casual but still delicious. If the weather's right, eat on the patio on the side. Very relaxing and very Napa.
I also recommend ad hoc, Thomas Keller's temporary restuarant in Yountville. The food is quite different from the bistro fare at Bouchon - it's basically upscale comfort food. The deal is that they do *one* four course tasting menu for the entire table - usually a salad or vegetable, a hearty meat dish, a well-chosen and beautifully presented cheese, and a dessert. We have eaten there twice, and it was great on both occasions. The portions are quite large and the food is extremely flavorful and satisfying. The decor and ambiance aren't anything to write home about - it's supposed to be a temporary restaurant, after all - but the simplicity and tastiness of the food makes it worthwhile.
The only cavaet is that it's not a great place for picky eaters, because your meal is all in the chef's hands. I'm not picky at all, but the one thing I do dislike is ribs - and once when we went there, the main course was pork ribs. I was actually extremely satisfied eating all of the other dishes, and the meat course always comes with a bean or veggie side, so there was plenty of food. I even tried the ribs and liked them (as much as I could possibly like ribs - I know, it's weird, but it's just my little idiosyncracy).
I definitely agree with the recommendation for Mustard's. I'm a local, and this is one of the few tourist-heavy places that I really, truly enjoy. The pork chop is the best!
I found Redds to be disappointing on more than one occassion. Service was the issue - uninformed, uneducated servers lacking the skills for the type of service needed for optimum presentation of the food. For something friendly and delicious, try Cook on Main Street, St. Helena. Jude Wilmoth (chef/owner) does a nice job for both lunch and dinner. The braised short ribs, if being offered, are outstanding, and pair so well with a nice Merlot or Syrah, okay, even a Cab.
Market (Main Street, St Helena is also fantastic) - dinner.
Do not miss Bistro Jeanty (Yountville). Phillippe's place is warm and friendly whether dining at the bar or at a table. This time of year the cassoulet would be a winner. He also serves fried anchovies (if I recall the fish type correctly). They are wonderfully addictive.
I just got back from Napa, I'll recommend Terra in St. Helena. http://terrarestaurant.com/ It's 10-15 minutes north of Yountville, and well worth it. The grilled lobster, hokkaido scallops and cuttlefish with chardonnay butter sauce is outstanding, as is the crispy oyster and pork belly appetizer.
For lunch, about as casual as it gets, try Taylor's Refresher right on Highway 29, also in St. Helena http://taylorsrefresher.com
etoile at Domain Chandon is also an excellent choice for dinner. The rosemary rack of lamb with broccoli rabe and pureed cauliflower might have been the best lamb I have ever had. The service was good, but a little stuffy. The food shines here.