One Meal in Napa Valley
Visiting in July and will have the opportunity for one dinner. If you had to pick one place to go these days, what would it be? Who is turning out the best food in a relaxed, unpretentious setting for stiff, but not stratospheric, prices?
TFL is not an option (went to Per Se in May and so have blown my Thomas Keller budget for the year), and we've been to Mustards, Cindy's Backstreet Boys Kitchen, Bistro Jeanty, and Bouchon. Don't want to go to Ubuntu or Ad Hoc. Thanks for your help.
One night in July for stiff prices, great food, relaxed atmosphere...?
Redd in Yountville
Martini House and Terra in St. Helena
Just opened w/no reviews yet - so research, the revamped Brix, now 25 degrees Brix. As they are so new who knows, but the setting is lovely and on-board consultant, David Gingrass knows his stuff.
Ubuntu is the bomb. I love blood and organ meats, but have never ever been unhappy with food i have eaten there, and have had 5 meals there in the last year. Chef Fox is way creative, but if you are too close minded how bout driving the hour to Berkeley and eating at Chez Pannisse Cafe. Upstairs, nice setting, same wine list as downstairs, choice of menu, not too expensive... I have eaten there and the the "real" Restaurant and the Cafe is better. It would be a meal you wont forget...
Ate at Chez Panisse Cafe a few years ago and loved it. But considering the alcohol units I hope to consume, I don't want to drive to Berkeley.
If I had more time, I would visit Ubuntu as the write-up in the NYT intrigued me. I have noticed that many on CH are lukewarm, at best, on Ubuntu, but that does not factor into my decision. I was a vegetarian for 10 years, so I'm neither close-minded nor close-paletted. I simply want to experience all of CA's bounty at my meal -- not just its veggies and grits.
Seriously as others have said ... you are really doing a dissevice to yourself for not trying Ubuntu ... especially since you liked Chez Panisse.
And ... my god ... you will be her in JULY ... prime produce season ... this is just silly, IMO. This is NOT a vegetarian restaurant ... listen to that carefully again ... this is NOT a vegetarian restaurant.
If you order a dish at a regular restaurant with cheese or dairy rather than meat ... well, what's the problem? Most of the restaurants you mention in your original post suck compared to Ubuntu.
The few ... few ... people who reported about not liking Ubuntu mainly didn;'t like that style of restaurant in general ... they would not have appreciated Chez Panisse. One or two regular hounds that SHOULD know better ... I think might have been over-hyped and were expecting dishes to be served by angels singing praises.
And if you don't believe Chowhound look at Yelp where out of over 70 reviews at this time, it earns a 4.5 stars.
- Number 2 in a NY Times list (you can search the details, but #2 on a list)
- More positive than negative reports on Chowhound
- Outstanding postive report on Chow
- Four and a half stars on Yelp
And you are rejecting it ... why?
If you read any report ... the majority of people ... including me ... went there either kicking and screaming or highly skeptical ... and left fans.
If you think you'd want to go to Manressa which is considered by some better than French Laundry ... serious thought should go into Ubuntu.
If you're not feeling Ubuntu, don't go to Ubuntu, especially if it's going to be your only dinner in Napa Valley. I think that saying that you're doing yourself a disservice not going there is a little overkill -- I liked my meal there, but it's not life changing. If you had two dinners, I'd say go for it, but since you only have one, why go somewhere that you don't want to go? I think that it's a good idea to make a reservation at Ad Hoc, see what the menu is the day before, and cancel if it isn't to your taste. I'd also definitely recommend Terra or Redd.