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Mustard Grill or Bistro Don Giovanni

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Jake Barnes Jun 5, 2009 07:45 AM

This is for a casual Friday night dinner in Napa. Which do you choose?

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    PulledPork RE: Jake Barnes Jun 6, 2009 02:26 PM

    I vote for Mustards. Just went back recently after the re-opening and it was as good as ever. Love the atmosphere outside at Don Giovanni but the food just isn't in the same conversation as Mustards in my opinion.

    3 Replies
    1. re: PulledPork
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      Dan Wodarcyk RE: PulledPork Jun 6, 2009 08:35 PM

      Both are sort of "resting on their laurels" type places, consistent and reliable, which I suppose goes back to the original post regarding a casual Friday out. I'd try Mustards as I've not been since they re-opened, but would have many other options ahead of them.

      1. re: Dan Wodarcyk
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        mick RE: Dan Wodarcyk Jun 7, 2009 06:51 AM

        Both great food and atmosphere. Don Giovanni you have the option of sitting outside. Check their menus out and then decide.

        1. re: Dan Wodarcyk
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          PulledPork RE: Dan Wodarcyk Jun 7, 2009 03:23 PM

          I also thought that Mustards fell into the "resting on its laurels" category, but -- after my last meal there -- am now convinced that this place deserves real props, especially if you're looking for a casual/relaxed environment. I would encourage you to give it another shot Dan. I think you might be surprised at some of the dishes they're pumping out of that kitchen. There's still the somewhat perplexing Asian feel to a few of the menu items (which seems out of place), but the food is delicious, welcoming and reasonably priced. Give it another try. I think you might agree.

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        whiner RE: Jake Barnes Jun 7, 2009 09:13 AM

        Mustard's. Easily. I Like the atmosphere at Gon Giovanni quite well, but the food just hasn'timpressed me.

        8 Replies
        1. re: whiner
          maria lorraine RE: whiner Jun 7, 2009 10:25 PM

          Jake, why have you limited yourself to these two choices?

          There are lots of other options for casual Friday Night...

          In direct answer to your query, though: Don Giovanni without question for me. I've had solid meals there for 15 years. Love the lamb shanks with cannellini beans, the lemon ravioli, the burger is very fine, the fried calamari, the salmon, and so many of the apps. I think the apps are the best thing on the menu, and have on several occasions had one for my first course, and two for my entree.

          Mustards lost the chef that made the place, that ran the place. Other important personnel have left in the last year as well. A coupla recent meals at Mustards took it completely out of the running, at least for me. I wrote one blistering post about a horrible meal there. Yet another visit since then with tastes of many dishes confirmed the slide south. Mustards is not good enough, IMO, to recommend it in comparison to the other blazingly good food available in Napa Valley at the same price.

          M.

          1. re: maria lorraine
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            Jake Barnes RE: maria lorraine Jun 8, 2009 01:36 PM

            Do you have any other suggestions for a casual dinner within a few miles of the Yountville area?

            1. re: Jake Barnes
              maria lorraine RE: Jake Barnes Jun 8, 2009 04:17 PM

              Yountville recs:

              Did you try Ad Hoc? Give them a call or try Open Table. Lots of posts on Ad Hoc, generally a true winner on this board, and it is very casual. Read more here:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/376367

              I love Bistro Jeanty, especially on the Terrace outside.

              Three of us had an outstanding meal at Bottega (will post a separate report). We had an outstanding burrata --creamy, on top of sliced and roasted artichoke hearts, drizzled with wonderful olive oil, served with charred toasts. Also, great roast chicken with olive oil Yukon Gold mashed potatoes. And skirt steak with frites and green salad. I went to Bottega somewhat reluctantly (I know the owner and do not like him), but the meal was outstanding. I was very impressed. I will say that the servers recognized our table as "foodies" so perhaps we were treated a bit special.

              Another rec: Bouchon but - HEED THIS - sit only at the bar for great raw bar (oysters, crab, shrimp, etc.) prepared beautifully, mussels, roast chicken, ribeye.Good wine list for those dishes, as well. The table service area sucks, just so you know.

              Napa recs:
              My favorites are Ubuntu (cauliflower in the cast iron pot is one of my favorite dishes anywhere), Azzurro Pizzeria (salad-topped pizzas are my fave), Bounty Hunter (amazing ribs, amazing; and beer-can chicken). You can always sit at the bar at any of the fancy restaurants (if that's OK with your needs) and order off the menu. Always fun. I love Three Twins Ice Cream at Oxbow Market -- my favorite is the chocolate orange confetti -- so you can go there for dessert.

              1. re: maria lorraine
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                whiner RE: maria lorraine Jun 9, 2009 03:05 PM

                I also really like Martini House...

                1. re: whiner
                  maria lorraine RE: whiner Jun 9, 2009 05:39 PM

                  Yup, me too, Whiner (hey). Favorite of all is Terra.

                  1. re: maria lorraine
                    PolarBear RE: maria lorraine Jun 9, 2009 06:28 PM

                    Maria, sorry if this has been asked previously, but I've noticed your fondness for Terra and would love to know what dishes you are partial to? We get up to the Napa Valley so seldom that we really want to make the most of our options. TIA

                    Cheers,

                    Dave

                    1. re: PolarBear
                      maria lorraine RE: PolarBear Jun 12, 2009 02:58 PM

                      Dave,

                      I love the Miyagi oyster preparation. Exquisite. The Kanpachi carpaccio is wonderful. Duck ravioli and fois gras appetizer. The steak tartare is fantastic and unusual. The Black Cod in Shiso Broth entree. Salmon with red curry. The scallops en brodo with the house-made sesame cracker. Comfort food: The spaghettini with tripe in red sauce is one of my all-time favorite dishes. So much flavor. Gutsy. Tiny thin pieces of tripe -- perfectly tender.

                      I'd say I've had at least 20 different dishes Terra makes and some dishes many times. Every single one has been great. Seriously.

                      And I love the setting. A beautiful old stone building with white mullioned windows. It has the feel of an old inn. Utterly amazing wine service that is respectful of every budget. I'm a fan.

                      Best,
                      Maria

                      1. re: maria lorraine
                        PolarBear RE: maria lorraine Jun 12, 2009 03:27 PM

                        Thanks, ML. Some great sounding dishes, looks like it take a couple of visits just to scratch the surface, even sharing plates as we almost always do.

                        Cheers,

                        Dave

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