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Napa Valley Steaks


barman paolo
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:hmmm:

A few weeks back Marshall wrote an abundant "critique" of Press (Rudd's newest venture) in St. Helena. There were 6 or 8 replies to the original posting, most of them in agreement with the author. Many of the respondents were asking if not Press, then where does one go for a steak while dining in the Napa Valley. To a letter, the only other name that came up was Cole's Chop House in Napa proper. Cole's is a worthy option to Press but there are a few others that were not mentioned. Two don't derserve the time it would take to mention them, but there is another relatively new steak house in the heart of the valley, that deserves mention.

Perhaps the callous and malicious review offered up bt SF Chronicle "critic", Michael Bauer (sidebar: critics become critics in the majority of cases because they were first miserable failures in the field they then choose to criticize) helped seal the fate of Philippe Jeanty's newest addition to his growing inventory of restaurants. Pere Jeanty opened to great public anticipation in late 2003, but was delivered the harsh and unfair dagger to the heart by Bauer just after the new year. Unfortunately the dining public lends far to much creedence to these self annointed critics, leaving the restauranteur and his staff to deal with changing the public opinion that was unfairly placed in the minds of the diners at large. Jeanty was left with an underachieving restaurant equipped with a near legendary staff and the only other thing he had...determination.

Low and behold, after a slow metamorphosis over the ensuing months, what emerged is the newly renamed PJ Steak in the same location. PJ Steak now serves arguably the best steaks in the valley, if not in the state or even the country. After all, Mr. Jeanty aquires his beef from the most noteworthy purveyors in the USA. USDA prime center cut Filet Mignon and NY Strips from Allen Brothers in Chicago, American Kobe beef shortribs from Snake River Ranch in Idaho, Coice Black Angus rib-eye steaks from Kansas and on and on. Jeanty does not accept mediocrity so all the other items offered are of equally high quality. His demanding style does not end with the product, he has assembled a kitchen staff willing and able to put forth the products as if Chef Jeanty were preparing them himself. His level of commitment to quality does not stop at the kitchen door, his floor staff is one of the best and most experienced in the valley. And slowly the public is starting to realize it. The shamefull thing is that Jeanty has had to change his concept and vision in order to regain the public opinion so easily influenced by a whimpy nobody who earns far too much money to espouse his opinions on everything from food to decor to the financial motives of a restauranteur. 'nuff said about that!

My point is this...Jeanty has worked his tail off trying to deflect the negative charma associated with his latest venture. He has provided us with a great place to go eat great steaks and more, and done so while charging significantly lower prices for food that is of superior quality than the other steak restaurants. Perhaps there are a few other people out there who could benefit from Philippe's example of hard work paying off. Try this PJ Steak, great food and yes, there is a place to get a great steak that great Napa Valley reds can stand up to.

Cheers and good dining.

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Another "two thumbs up" for PJ Steak! I thought his original concept a bit muddled, but the chef definitely has found a winning niche here! Excellent, well-written post, Barman Paolo!

On another note, Mer Lot & I had an absolutely ABYSMAL steak frite at Bouchon last week. The usually dependable dish came smothered with shallots which, when removed, revealed an absolutely flavorless piece of meat. The fries tasted as though they'd been prepared using the old doughnut oil from the adjacent bakery. Everyone raves about Bouchon but, in truth, I can recall only one truly memorable meal there in the last three years of trying it.

Edited by samgiovese (log)

"A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

- Dr. Hannibal Lecter

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regarding pj steak - i have loved the short ribs... but they REALLY should stick to the steak. i got a couple pizzas togo last week & they were the ABSOLUTE WORST pizzas i have ever had.

regarding bouchon - i've been there at least 20 times & the steak frites has always been wonderful... i get the fries to go (to stroll home w/ the bebe) and they are my favorites.

my 2 cents...

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I didn't ever visit Pere Jeanty, so can't comment on the accuracy or inaccuracy of the Bauer review. However, barman paolo comments did pique my interest enough to dig it up on the sfgate website.

Behold, the harsh and unfair dagger of Michael Bauer!

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c...CMGH94KE8V3.DTL

To me, restaurants stand or fall based on my last visit, not the reviews in the paper or comments on eGullet.

-Erik

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I didn't ever visit Pere Jeanty, so can't comment on the accuracy or inaccuracy of the Bauer review.  However, barman paolo comments did pique my interest enough to dig it up on the sfgate website.

Behold, the harsh and unfair dagger of Michael Bauer!

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c...CMGH94KE8V3.DTL

To me, restaurants stand or fall based on my last visit, not the reviews in the paper or comments on eGullet.

-Erik

Thanks Erik for placing Bauer's "review"...Unfortunately for hard working restauranteurs, the majority of the dining public are not as free-thinking as you, they need the "guidance" of mis-guided "critics". BP

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Wow, I'm so out of it. I had no idea Jeanty HAD a steak place. We had lunch at Bistro Jeanty last Saturday and my friend had the steak frites. Oh. My. God. Even though she ordered it medium-well, it was delectable, as were the fries and Bearnaise. (I even got to hear two previously unknown-to-each-other friends say. "Don't get saucy with me, Bearnaise!" simultaneously.)

Fortunately, the steak was huge so we had to "help" her out with it.

My fantasy? Easy -- the Simpsons versus the Flanders on Hell's Kitchen.

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