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Ubuntu?

Hello, we will be visiting Napa in July and are thinking about Ubuntu for dinner. Neither of us are vegetarians but I'm curious. Is it worth the price? (What would a dinner for two cost approx?) Is the food hearty and filling? Or are the portions small and not satisfying?

I'd welcome any and all thoughts.

Thanks so much - this is a great community!

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

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    1. re: wolfe

      Dinner there will be very satisfying. This is not a greens or millennium where you leave going "yep, that was vegetarian". You leave going "wow, that was tasty". I'm not sure of the price because I ordered the now-unavailable tasting menu.

    2. Without wine, dinner for two can be about $80, if you share four plates

      1. Thanks everyone! I guess I'm mostly curious if people like Ubuntu. Quick poll: If you've eaten at Ubuntu and you are not a vegetarian, would you pay to eat there again?

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

        5 Replies
        1. re: foodievisitingSF

          In a Toronto minute and wolves are notoriously carnivores.

          1. re: foodievisitingSF

            I'd go back to Ubuntu. Sharing four plates would feel more like a snack than dinner to me. We were pleasantly full after ten dishes.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6169...

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

            1. re: foodievisitingSF

              I'd definitely go back. I enjoyed the original chef's menu a bit more, the food is still really innovative and delicious.

              If you're looking for cautions, I will admit that I've been with people (for a tasting menu), who felt like it was a succession of appetizers, without any "entree." I think this is more true in the summer, when they have fewer of the heavy/hearty dishes, like the cauliflower, that had a more entree feel to them. It is set up as more of a small plates menu, though, so it could be the format, rather than the lack of meat, that gives that impression.

              Whether you get enough to eat, is going to depend on how many plates you order. For two, I tend to go for 5-6 plates (usually share 4 savory, then get 2 desserts).

              The food is good.

              1. re: foodievisitingSF

                I think the question has been answered clearly; people like or dislike ubuntu due to the style of the cooking (light complicated plates), not due to whether meat is involved.

                Echoing 'purveyor's comment, I don't like entrees any more, I eat more than 50% of my meals entirely from the appetizer section. Maybe GF and I will do one entree and 3 apps.

                So, yes, I like ubuntu, would go back often if it wasn't 2 hours away in traffic, and look forward very much to Plum, Fox/Patterson's new place.

                1. re: bbulkow

                  I'm not a particular fan of small plates, generally I'd rather have larger portions of fewer dishes. And I prefer simpler cooking.

                  But I had a good time at Ubuntu and intend to go back sometime.

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

              2. I'm suspicious you are looking for a reason to not go. I think you are unlikely to find it on this board.

                2 Replies
                1. re: wolfe

                  Not true. I was completely unimpressed the one time I ate there, and that was when Jeremy Fox was still there.

                  But it's not like I had a terrible meal, just an expensive one with a lot of complicated preparations, and far short of all the raves.

                  There are lots of places to eat. No need to go anywhere you don't want to.

                  1. re: Windy

                    Foodie: There, you've found it.

                2. Did you end up going? What did you think? I was there Saturday and just posted this review:

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7184...

                  1. We're scheduled to go on July 15 and I think we will keep the reservation! The feedback is overwhelmingly positive so I think ti's worth a try. I'm only hesitant because we have only one day in Napa and there are so many options. Thanks so much everyone for your feedback. Hugely grateful!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: foodievisitingSF

                      To me, Ubuntu is one of the most interesting destinations for any foodie tourist visiting the Bay Area. I don't think there's anything similar elsewhere. It's the only vegetarian restaurant I can recall where I didn't feel like I was giving up anything by not having meat.

                      Generally speaking I steer visitors away from the city of Napa (which if it didn't share a name with the nearby Napa Valley would get as many tourists as Vallejo), but Ubuntu is a destination in itself.

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

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston

                        We just went this week and loved it. My carnivorous husband loved it and said he didn't even miss the meat. We shared 4 plates and had a delicious coconut float dessert. The service was wonderful and I wish we had a restaurant like that in SD!

                      2. re: foodievisitingSF

                        My husband and I went to Ubuntu two years ago. It was wonderful. The macaroni and cheese was to die for. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

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

                      3. Does anyone else feel that the current incarnation of Ubuntu is just too "precious" for itself???

                        I visited a number of times while Fox was there and could not believe how innovative and special each individual dish turned out.. His take on the basics as well as signature dishes just blew us ( and avid carnivore guests) away! Beautiful salads to pizzas as well as original, fresh and interesting options made you want to try everything on the menu.

                        I had heard via this board that the kitchen was still putting out interesting and innovative cuisine so it was a must stop on my last visit to the valley. Even though each dish was indeed tasty, we left feeling disappointed.

                        It just seemed like they were trying too hard. Menu choices had so many ingredients and techniques that no one at the table had even heard of or could recognize....

                        "‘sessantina’ RAPINI, TAT SOI, smoked ‘kadota’ FIG",

                        "KOHLRABI broth",

                        "‘hakurei’ and ‘scarlet damsel’ TURNIPS in a tokyo inspired broth RAU RAM, SHUNGIKU, chanterelles, miso RADISH and EGG YOLK "

                        ????? Really now!
                        And some of the items listed on a dish were barely a dot of reduction sauce. I don't know what a smoked borage leaf is but if I order it, I should be able to figure it out?!

                        Each menu item was tasty but there were so many ingredients so very carefully placed that the flavors did not blend together at all.

                        Lastly, if you are going to design your menu with plates to share (a feature that I usually like):
                        1. make the portion large enough to get more than a 1/2 bite per person...these dishes were not even enough to give one person more than a taste
                        2. create the plate so that 2 or 3 people can do so evenly .........
                        a quarter size slice of beet on one corner of the plate, 2 micro greens with dressing in the middle and the cracked potato with egg on the other side makes it very challenging for each diner to get the chef's intent.

                        The apple portion in the apple desert was allocated with a single, small mellon baller for g-ds sake!!!

                        Please! Get over yourself! So very disappointed.

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

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: MSK

                          At the time of the chef changeover, I heard from a kitchen insider who predicted that Ubuntu would be fine in the short term. But over time as the seasons changed and the new hand would introduce his own creations, the forecast was that the dishes would be littered with too many ingredients and no clarity of intent. Sounds like it has come to pass and I'm so sorry to hear this.

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

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            "the dishes would be littered with too many ingredients and no clarity of intent"

                            Could not have been said more succinctly.

                            So sorry too! :(

                            1. re: MSK

                              We ate there and Saturday for the first time in a while and had a great meal. Ubuntu has had a bit of a double whammy the last year. First their star chef left and then like many restaurants they suffered from the recession. I tend to feel like foodies idol worship chefs and winemakers a bit more than we need to; they are artisans and should be recognized for their work but sometimes the hero worship goes overboard and clouds reality. The times I visited Ubuntu after Fox’s departure the food was as good as when he was still there. I like the place and really hope they stick around longer.

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

                              1. re: Ridge

                                How did the food you had Saturday compare with the previous post-Fox meals?

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  Except for one of the dishes I would say it was as good as our last visit last fall.

                                  We ate:

                                  the garden SNAKE; LEAVES, FLOWERS, ROOTS……
                                  It was excellent. My only complaint was that their salad used to be served on Sardinian flat bread and that used to be nice.

                                  Gnocchi
                                  Excellent

                                  A roasted potato dish
                                  Excellent

                                  an ubuntu steam bun stuffed w/ burrata and coated with SUNCHOKE dirt
                                  This sounded very interesting and it was not bad. But I am not sure it was a successful combination.

                                  The desserts were excellent