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Sep 26, 2008 11:43 PM

September Song: Rush to UBUNTU and celebrate … rejoice in … wildly applaud … summer’s glorious final curtain

When I first visited Ubuntu in the cold, drizzly winter I imagined how wonderful it might be at the height of summer. For one of the few times in my life, the reality exceeded the dream.

I have never had a better HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD – the tomatoes a riot of flavors and colors … each variety at its peak. If you look at the picture of the tomatoes on the restaurant’s home page … they were like that but more and prettier.

Various basils were sprinkled around the plate and there was a drizzle of pesto olive oil and a sprinkle of espelette pepper. Razor-thin wild fennel crackers completed the dish and the taste sensation.

There is the option of adding Ubuntu’s ethereal burrata. Add it.

It takes the dish beyond perfection.

Sometimes I worry about gushing too much about something and worry that expectations are set too high. I would highly doubt that here. This dish is just greatness.

The CARTA DA MUSICA was a lovely symphony of impossibly thin large crackers topped with fresh greens and long slices of truffled pecorino and the most delicate yet flavorful trumpet mushroom chips

This is not something I would have ordered usually since I’m one of the 2 out of ten people who cannot taste or smell truffles. It was delicious.

The LOCAL POLENTA FINISHED WITH CORN PUDDING, 3 day tomato soffreito, fried peppers and smoked corn was summer comfort food. The corn / polenta were rich in corny goodness, nicely complemented by the intense sofrito. The standout for me was the fried peppers. Whole cherry peppers were fried, stem on. There was another tiny whole green pepper that stole the show. Wish I caught the name of that pepper so I could keep an eye out at the farmers market.

I think Ubuntu changed their bread. I like it a lot better now, but can’t say why. Also there is an option to ask for olive oil instead of butter. That was nice.

This was all very nice with a sparkling strawberry lemonade – strawberry puree, fresh-squeezed lemonade and sparkling wine.

The fresh lemonade with rosemary and the peach bellini with rose geranium sugar rim were also tempting … hopefully next time … or next year.

Then … right there … at the end of the meal ... summer slipped away and fall arrived.

The dessert on the menu … raspberry sorbet float rose geranium soda, watermelon ice, lychee tapioca was gone.

It was replaced by a MELON SORBET FLOAT with Concord grape soda and Muscat tapioca. It was tiny tapioca like sago. I didn’t catch all the details as it was served. I was still thinking lychee. Never realized how similar concord grapes are in taste and texture to lychees. I was thinking the halved grape was the smallest and tastiest lychee I ever tried.

I finally took a peek at the pleasant outdoor patio with about five or six tables. However on a hot day the cool, calm interior was more inviting.

Every time I’m at Ubuntu, I just want to buy a house next door. I don’t suppose they would give up the idea of the yoga studio and let me rent the upstairs.

In the dark, cold days of winter, I'll think back on this meal and be warmed by the memories of a golden early autumn day.

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    Ubuntu Restaurant & Yoga Studio
    1140 Main Street, Napa, CA 94558

    1. Nice report!

      Were the whole green peppers 'pimientos del padron?' I had them last week at NOPA in SF, they were great.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Dave MP

        No. It was one word and really, really, really tiny. about a 1/10 the size of a normal jalepeno ... but not hot ... just flavorful. a cherry pepper was huge in comparison. Tried to scan the online menu for Ubuntu. However, nothing rang a bell.

      2. I could not agree more! I went to Ubuntu this last August and was blown away!!! Shared 4 small starters--Garden fresh greens, Burrata w/ pesto(yes amazing--so much better than A16's!),Cherry tomatoes over zucchini hummus(such love in these tomatoes! Some raw some 'cooked' every color and flavor under that rainbow!),and? Mains were amazing as well--wild mushroom pizza(meaty mushrooms and sublime texture) and their cauldron of cauliflower which surprised in its richness of brown butter and cream. I had fantastic wines as well Riesling to start and with mains a fantastic local pinot noir :) One of my best meals--EVER!!!

        1. Just wanted to get the correct description of that dessert which was on the menu yesterday.

          Muscat grape sorbet float, rosemary soda, hard cider ice, concord grape tapioca. It is topped with slivers of green apple.

          Tried the peach belini and the rosemary lemonade.

          While I like the rose geranium sugar rim a lot ... a whole lot ... the peach flavor wasn't strong in the belini. The rosemary lemonade was very nice with the rosemary just the right accent and not overpowering.

          Of the drinks I liked that strawberry lemonade sparkler the best.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rworange

            We have been going back to Ubuntu regularly and always love it. Too many upscale restaurants these days serve dull overly heavy food. Ubuntu is a refreshing respite from this. The food is vibrant and just tastes good. We have been getting the “Garden menu” dinner and it’s always great. I’ve complained on this board about the desserts at Ubuntu but lately they have been really great, a few visits ago we had the best sorbet I remember eating in a long time. Were going back on Friday.