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Jul 14, 2014 12:32 PM

Meadowood Restaurant [St. Helena]

I have one of those big, round number birthdays coming up and we reserved a table at Meadowood. They offer a tasting menu for $225/person and a "counter menu" for $500. They want to know which menu we prefer. It is a big occasion and money is not a problem (although I certainly don't mind saving the difference). However, I'm wondering if the tasting menu would be plenty and decadent enough or if we should really indulge in the counter menu. Would appreciate information from anyone who has been there and has advice.

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  1. Easy choice: Counter menu (in the kitchen). Outside of my meals at Eleven Madison Park, I haven't had a more enjoyable dining experience than the three counter menus I've had at Meadowood.

    Here are photos from our meal last month:

    1. Thanks for the recommendation and the photos. Looks great and your three visits certainly demonstrate how much you like it.

      Anyone else been there?

      1. Uhockey has been and not sat at the counter review w/ pictures here:

        1. The counter menu is a great experience. You can choose to have the "counter menu" in either the kitchen (seats 4) or the normal dining room - the settings feel quite different.

          The "counter menu" included several extra dishes and a few experimental ones, which for me, were probably the standout courses in the meal. I think that the food at Restaurant at Meadowood is very finessed and "smart." What I mean is there's a lot of thought behind the way that textures and flavors progress not only throughout the meal but also in a particular dish. There's a certain wit to how the courses may play with your expectations - not in a subversive, postmodernist deconstructed way; or not in an ironic, tongue-in-cheek narrative; but in the way that something unexpected (it can be a non-noble ingredient) quietly steals the show. What impressed me about Meadowood was how one small element in a dish could bring together seemingly disparate ingredients, resulting in a great course. Manresa, Crenn, Saison, etc. all have their own unique strengths, and this for me is how the food at Meadowood is memorable. Of course many of the dishes are delicious, but what elevates their cuisine to that upper echelon is how the textures and flavors are so smart in the way that things are paired. For me, this was most apparent in some of the counter-menu dishes. I appreciated the counter menu in part because of the ability to dialogue with the chefs and staff about these kinds of nuances.

          From a cost perspective, please note that the counter menu (but not the $225 menu) includes gratuity on the food portion, and given that you will receive a glass of vintage champagne, several additional courses, and perhaps a few extras, it works out just about right. That is, you're not really paying any more per course for the counter menu. One of my concerns was that I would still be hungry after the $225 menu. I'm not sure that's the case, as the counter menu is not a ton more food and I was satisfied at the end. However, the counter menu felt like a bit more of a complete meal, as there were a few more courses to transition (e.g. consomme to reset before the meats, pre-dessert salad to transition from savory to sweet that was one of the very best dishes there).

          1. $500?! Does that include pairings?

            1 Reply
            1. re: MissEnPlace

              No, $500 is for the food (about 20 courses). If I remember correctly, pairings are around $350.