Jole, Calistoga Ca
We were really looking forward to dinner on Tuesday at Jole. We were all big fans of Matt and Sonjia Spector when they owned and operated Matyson, one of the best restaurants in Philadelphia. Jole did not disappoint.
The menu at Jole is designed to be smaller portions at moderate prices that you build into your own personal tasting menu. While the portions are smaller, they are much larger than typical tapas.
Since we ordered many dishes, several the same, I will describe them and give a short comment.
Starters and Salads
Baby Arugula Salad: Avocado, grapefruit, roasted red peppers with citrus vinaigrette. Excellent
Wood Oven Roasted Artichokes with tasso ham and spring peas. Spicy, delicious, a real treat.
Octopus with chorizo, fingerling potatos, lemon caper aioli. Fantastic mix of flavors, good sized portion.
Thai Melon and Cucumber Salad: Spicy greens, basil and toasted peanuts. Cool fruit, spicy greens, nice flavors.
Fish and Shellfish
Alaskan Halibut, semolina crusted asparagus, romesco sauce. Did not try this but looked great.
Mahi Mahi, sweet corn and chorizo succotash: the warmth of the relish and chorizo went very well with the fish. Yum
Seared Hamachi: jicama, mango and smoked avocado. Sliced and prepared perfectly, this was fresh and a nice spring like preparation.
New York Strip Steak with panzanella salad. Exact rare preparation, "peasant" type salad was great with the meat.
Roasted Duck Breast with chipolte and sweet potato pancakes, huckleberry sauce. Need I say more, just delicious and Chef Matt Spector added a generous piece of fabulous foie gras to this dish.
Veal Sweet Breads: Bacon, fava beans, mushrooms and cherry sauce. Some of the most tender, tasty sweetbreads I have had.
Roasted garlic mashed potatoes
Wood roasted cippolini onions
Peas and carrots
All of the above sides were tasty and nice compliments to the other dishes.
The tasting menu concept is the ultimate way to sample the skills of Chef Matt. His use of ultra fresh ingredients and then bringing his global flavor touch to those ingredients is pure genius.
Could hardly move but we forced down a couple of desserts :)
Coconut Cream pie with bittersweet chocolate and macadamia crust which brought back memories of Sonjia making this at Matyson. You need to try it yourself!!
Cherry Cobbler with lavender and black pepper ice cream. Unique flavor combination that worked.
We also drank well, had a Peter Michael Chardonnay and a Rochioli Little Hill Pinot.
There are quite a few good restaurants from Calistoga to Napa. We have been to most of them over the past 10 years and IMO Jole is right up there at or near the top.
Kudos to Matt and Sonjia who have brought their magic to Napa Valley.
Four of us celebrated a significant birthday at Jole last night and we all had a great meal. We opted for the 5 course tasting menu and the twist at Jole is that each persons tasting menu can be completely different! What a feast we had.
Too many dishes to go through but here is a sampling of what we had. Butternut squash soup, brussel sprouts with bacon, a fried cauliflower dish, scallops over pureed vegetables, a delicious chicken liver preparation, yummy fois gras, tender as butter rib eye, lamb stew, chicken fried quail and a few I can't remember.
All were beautifully prepared and with great flavor. The small - medium plate concept at Jole is a wonderful way to sample the diverse cuisine. Matt Spector has certainly become comfortable at Jole and is turning out some of the very best food in all of Napa Valley.
Almost forgot desserts, chocolate decadence was just that. Rich and delicious. Coconut cream pie is special here, a favorite of Sonjia Spector the pastry chef.
If your looking for a unique grazing type menu with an abundance of choices, Jole should be on your list of restaurants to get to.
re: Dan Wodarcyk
Let us know how you like Jole, we were very impressed with the range of flavors here.
One small edit. For dessert we had cherry cobbler with white chocolate black pepper ice cream. Where did I get lavender from. Must have been the two bottles of wine :)
One more report to get to, that was Ubuntu on Thursday evening.