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Nov 2, 2009 09:50 AM

Yountville: Etoile is a star – Outstanding Sunday brunch … outstanding

Etoile is the restaurant located at Domaine Chandon winery. The setting is beautiful, the service and food top-notch. The prices are good enough that I wouldn’t necessarily make this just a special occasion brunch.

I had
- Bellini with Chandon reserve sparkling wine and fresh peach puree
- Pastry basket raspberry jam, seasonal fruit
- Sourdough bread and butter topped with red volcanic clay sea salt
- Quince and caramelized onion tart, smoked almonds, anise herbs, smoked salmon
- Teance oolong tea
- Complimentary spoon of sparkling wine and lavender snow

The bellini was one of the best I’ve had.

The pastry plate had a croissant, blueberry streusel muffin, banana muffin with cinnamon sugar, fresh raspberry jam and butter, and top-notch flavorful, perfect fruit … strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries served on a fresh grape leaf. This was an amazing deal for $10 … less than if I bought similar baked goods at Bouchon take-out … and quite frankly, tastier.

The muffins were light, moist and had excellent crumb. That cinnamon sugar on the banana muffin was so good. The raspberry jam was wonderful.

There was an error in the tart plate in my favor. I didn’t realize until writing this that the three rolls of smoked salmon were not supposed to be there. I was a little dazzled by the brunch so I missed the details.

The tart was stunning … a buttery delicate crust was shaped like a flat pizza, topped with the perfect caramelized onions with each piece decorated with a slice of scarlet spiced quince. I’m finishing this and the muffins this morning for breakfast and there are lots of involuntary ‘mmmm’s” with each bite.

The three wonderful rolls of lox were placed on dabs of cream cheese topped with thread-thin crisp onions and chopped herbs. It doesn’t get better than this.

Only Tadich has better sourdough … maybe. This was the sourdough I remember from the past …chewy, nice crust and a tangy taste and aroma. The three pieces of sliced baguette were wrapped in a white napkin.

The smoky Teance tea was perfect. It was impressive that it was pre-steeped. I didn’t notice this until asked if I wanted a refill … by refill they meant bringing a new white ceramic pot of the tea.

I was lingering and enjoying the morning and the last cup had no tea leaves in it. I peeked in the pot to see what type of strainer was being used and it was empty … no leaves. This was nice. No fooling with a messy, drippy strainer so the tea doesn’t get bitter.

At the end of the meal there was a ceramic spoon like a Chinese soup spoon with the wonderful frozen wine and lavender that was the consistency of fresh snow.

Service was professional, knowledgeable and helpful. What was so nice is dishes were well timed. The tart wasn’t brought until I finished the fruit plate. There were no lags.

It is such a lovely place to linger over brunch. The outdoor patio overlooks an expansive green lawn beautifully landscaped. Birdies sang merrily, squirrels scampered, leaves fluttered to the ground. If Snow White skipped across the lawn followed by bunnies I wouldn’t be surprised and would have just waved good morning … in other words it was idyllic

Domaine Chandon - Etoile Restaurant
1 California Dr, Yountville, CA 94599

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  1. A few additional brunch dishes are listed, not all are on the menu. However, most are there but the preps are seasonal. After 11:30 they add lunch dishes.

    I thought that fruit plate was quite the deal. I stopped by Bouchon Bakery to compare. Muffins were $2.50 and croissants $3. So that would be $8. They didn’t have fresh fruit and the baked goods don't come with jam or butter.

    So for $8 you could stand in line with tourists at Bouchon, buy baked goods and eat them out of paper bags on the rickety outdoor tables a few feet from the road, inhaling exhaust fumes. from cars passing

    Or a few blocks away for $10 you can drive up the lovely road through the vineyards and sit on a patio overlooking a green lawn while a waiter serves a lovely plate of the baked goods.

    Coffee is $2.50 at both places … Equator at Bouchon … Mr. Espresso at Etoile. One is served in ceramic cups with refills … the other out of a paper cup and no refills. No Teance tea at Bouchon.

    The online menus are not current. A few other brunch dishes
    - Oysters, estate bitter orange
    - Brioche Pain Perdu golden delicious apples • cinnamon ice cream • basil
    - Crepes black mission figs, proscuttio di parma, chestnuts
    - House Gravlox crisp capers, potato bilini, crème fraîche, preserved lemon
    - Smoked wild Alaskan salmon, fuyu persimmon, escarole, roasted mushrooms
    - Pan roasted Columbia river sturgeion, forbidden rice, toy box tomatoes, lobster sauce

    All sausages are made in-house

    A few desserts
    - Quince tart tatin, eggnog ice cream, sugar tuile
    - Caramelized pear mille-feuille, brandied butterscotch, almond toffee sorbet

    In addition to the bellini, there was a mimosa and a bloody Mary made with sparkling wine. The menu had ten sparkling wines available by the glass.

    1 Reply
    1. re: rworange

      Thanks for all the details - sounds like a must-visit on our next trip up that way! Thank you!