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Napa Area Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


Aurora
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Pike quenelles and shortribs bourguignon for lunch at Jeanty, with just a splash or three of an excellent local chard. Didn't know I was going there,orI mightnot have made the rezzies for Bouchon Saturday night. Worth going to both? I can eat that kind of food all night and all day, but maybe it's too much of a good thing?

Y'all got yourself a nice little valley here.

Rob -- I'll stick my head into Modals on Saturday if I get a chance.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Pilar. (For me, end of sentence... thank you.)

Look no further -- although a quick search will produce dozens of threads, many with the same thoughts on other great places to try including Bistro Don Giovanni, Bouchon, Terra, Ad Hoc, Redd, and Bistro Jeanty all rate very highly. For me, they are all just that: Great. But there is something special about Pilar that makes her greatness exceptional.

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There's a LOT of good wine on that list for under $100. Some are downright bargains.

In no particular order the things that jumped out at me were:

Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz

Calera Mount Harlan Viognier

Huet "Clos du Bourg" Vouvray Sec

Brundelmeyer "Zobinger Heligenstein" Riesling (this one is a fave of mine)

Domaine Serene Chardonnay (either one. Domaine Serene makes great wine)

Muller-Catoir Scheurebe Spatlese (in the 'Not to be Forgotten Whites')

Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir (very versatile choice)

Marc Colin Vielles Vignes Cotes-du-Beaune Santenay

I could potentially go on and on. That's a very good list with a lot of really excellent choices on it. It does tend to repeat itself with the same wines in several different categories, so I suppose it isn't as large a list as it seems.

If you wanted to pick two bottles of wine, one red and one white that would likely compliment a lot of menu choices I'd go with a bottle of riesling (the Austrian is top notch) and a bottle of pinot noir (the Sinskey is excellent) and call it a day.

Are you having a tasting menu or just ordering a la carte? If a tasting menu, they probably have a wine flight chosen that compliments it well, but then you'd have to stick to the by the glass choices, and with a list this deep, it might be more fun to order a couple of bottles.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Just got in from my first trip to Napa about 4 hours ago and indeed just finished noshing a loaf of bread from Bouchon Bakery. Almost as good as Artisanbaker's bread from Model's in St. Helena.

Didn't get to Bouchon but just down the street Jeanty is about as perfect as a bistro gets, but with a great Napa wine list.

If you're not running with a big crowd, and don't want too much drama, the bartender at Mustard's was astoudingly friendly and wine-competent. Just a place to get something simple and follow the lead of a guy who makes excellent wine recc's with the same aplomb that most people give directions to the deli and relax. Go after 8:30.

And, of course, trust Carolyn more than me.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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What a great time I had in Napa! The people were nice I even forgot I was from the East Coast for a while and started yielding to bicyclists and being polite.

Ever since our premier baker retired, good bread has been hard to find in DC so I bought a loaf of Acme bakery bread in Dean and DeLuca to bring home and then I found myself with time to kill in Yountville so I picked up a boule at the Bouchon Bakery and then I ended up in St. Helena and dropped in to say "hi" to Rob, who kindley showed me his brick oven and sold me a loaf of bread possibly even better than the Bouchon loaf, so I now have more good bread in my posession than anyone else in DC and the Acme bread, which seemed so tasty when I first bought it, will probably be used to feed the birds.

Went to Press one night for an excellent steak in a very pleasant, open setting. Jeanty, as reported above, was excellent. We dropped into Mustard's after a long day of eating and gin (work-related, I promise) just to grab a snack found ourselves being guided through their lengthy wine list (labeled "Way too much wine" as I recall) by a bartender who brought such nonchalont knowledge to the list that we became instant fans. The Saddleback Viogner was particularly good.

And then the next morning I wrapped a necktie around myself and knocked gingerly at the door of The French Laundry which delcared that they did not have a table but consented to take my cellphone number which they used, about 40 minutes later, to tell me that there had been a cancellation and did I still want a table? Fuckin' aye, I did. The food of course was brilliant, the wine exceptional (I met up with my colleagues at a vineyard after lunch and just couldn't bring myself to sample what was surely a perfectly good flight of local wines because the aftertaste of TFL's by-the-glass selection (and a half-bottle of Tor Chazrdonnay) was too good to ruin). Dennis W. was the waiter and spectacularly knowledgable and polite.

All in all, a fairly wonderful 3 days. Thanks, everyone, for your guidance and advice and bread.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Pilar. (For me, end of sentence... thank you.)

Look no further -- although a quick search will produce dozens of threads, many with the same thoughts on other great places to try including Bistro Don Giovanni, Bouchon, Terra, Ad Hoc, Redd, and Bistro Jeanty all rate very highly. For me, they are all just that: Great. But there is something special about Pilar that makes her greatness exceptional.

Hitting Pilar Sat night. I went with that over Bistro don Giovanni? I just think Pilar seemed more....well, more california?

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Charles,

Good to meet you and I'm glad my simple tour gave you some lasting memory of beautiful Napa Valley. As for the bread, after returning the work van back to the bakery after the CIA event, I regretted my lapse of thoughtfulness: I wish I could have dropped off fresh bread from Saturday night's bake in Rutherford on my way back home to Yountville.

At any rate, sounds like you got to hit some highlights.

The bartender at Mustards' might have been "Maureen" who is cousins with Dan Kosta of Kosta Browne fame. I spoke with the GM Saturday night who attested to her extensive wine/spirits knowledge. Get on the Kosta Browne list now if you want to get wine before the end of the decade...

Saddleback has recently been taken over by a certain Ms. Roche, who is simply one of the most dynamic and charismatic women whom I have ever met. With her business skills on hand, this brand will likely to explode over the next short time. Of course, it helps to have Mr. Venge's hand involved in the winemaking!

Regarding the Acme bread: it was always a dream of mine to work for Steve Sullivan. I first approached him regarding work in 1997! Since living out here I have been impressed mostly by their consistancy, which is remarkable. But, I make the quality of bread that I like to eat most. I am grateful the owners of Model Bakery provide me with that opportunity and have allowed me to take "long-cuts" to ensure that no comprises are made in bread fabrication. I can't really comment on the Bochon bread, but I can say that without Thomas Keller's invitation to work for him I would have never experienced the wonders of Napa Valley.

Have a terrific winter Charles,

Rob

PS. One of my greatest teachers, Mr. Rosada, now works for Uptown Bakers in DCfor 6 months/year. Although I have never had the bread, perhaps you might like to give it a shot.

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There's a LOT of good wine on that list for under $100.  Some are downright bargains.

In no particular order the things that jumped out at me were:

Two Hands Angel's Share Shiraz

Calera Mount Harlan Viognier

Huet "Clos du Bourg" Vouvray Sec

Brundelmeyer "Zobinger Heligenstein" Riesling (this one is a fave of mine)

Domaine Serene Chardonnay (either one. Domaine Serene makes great wine)

Muller-Catoir Scheurebe Spatlese (in the 'Not to be Forgotten Whites')

Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir (very versatile choice)

Marc Colin Vielles Vignes Cotes-du-Beaune Santenay

I could potentially go on and on.  That's a very good list with a lot of really excellent choices on it.  It does tend to repeat itself with the same wines in several different categories, so I suppose it isn't as large a list as it seems.

If you wanted to pick two bottles of wine, one red and one white that would likely compliment a lot of menu choices I'd go with a bottle of riesling (the Austrian is top notch) and a bottle of pinot noir (the Sinskey is excellent) and call it a day.

Are you having a tasting menu or just ordering a la carte?  If a tasting menu, they probably have a wine flight chosen that compliments it well, but then you'd have to stick to the by the glass choices, and with a list this deep, it might be more fun to order a couple of bottles.

I guess the wine menu is a little, not confusing but I guess different in its presentation? I would like to do the tasting, we'll see. Many times the whole table needs to participate and I doubt we will get a consensus.

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Just got in from my first trip to Napa about 4 hours ago and indeed just finished noshing a loaf of bread from Bouchon Bakery.  Almost as good as Artisanbaker's bread from Model's in St. Helena.

Didn't get to Bouchon but just down the street Jeanty is about as perfect as a bistro gets, but with a great Napa wine list.

If you're not running with a big crowd, and don't want too much drama, the bartender at Mustard's was astoudingly friendly and wine-competent. Just a place to get something simple and follow the lead of a guy who makes excellent wine recc's  with the same aplomb that most people give directions to the deli and relax.  Go after 8:30.

And, of course, trust Carolyn more than me.

Haha.

Models in st Helena? Is it pure bakery? Any lunch choices? Will be in St Helena saturday.

Was thinking Jeanty but one of the dining companions has been several times and wanted something new(he had not tried).

Edited by jscarbor (log)
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Don't feel guilty about not dropping off the bread -- by the time you got off work I was probably fast asleep in the Oakland Airport Hilton.

The bartender at Mustards was male, so probably not Maureen.

I will give Uptown another shot. Your teacher is hampered by the fact that it is now a mass-ish production effort; a comparison of your bread with the Acme effort (which, like Uptown's is quite good) reveals how hard it is to make a truly excellent loaf on a large scale.

Thanks for the tour. I hope to be back, maybe we can grab a beer. Sorry, glass of local wine.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I, too, am heading to Napa and the surrounding area late this week and am back here to get your recommendations. I've never eaten at Jeanty, but it's now at the top of the (admittedly short) list of places to try.

Reading eGullet has given me plenty of wineries to check out in the past, so a belated thank you for that to everyone here. I'm lucky enough that not only can I read the forums here, but I can also make it a couple times a year up that way to try what I'm learning.

Now, if only I can somehow double the number of working taste buds in my mouth I might approach having a discerning palate.

Finally, here are the wineries that I'm going to be re-visiting Thursday or Friday:

Bouchaine, Silverado, Casa Nuestra and possibly Coppola.

I'll link to any worthwhile pics I shoot early next week.

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Just got in from my first trip to Napa about 4 hours ago and indeed just finished noshing a loaf of bread from Bouchon Bakery.  Almost as good as Artisanbaker's bread from Model's in St. Helena.

Didn't get to Bouchon but just down the street Jeanty is about as perfect as a bistro gets, but with a great Napa wine list.

If you're not running with a big crowd, and don't want too much drama, the bartender at Mustard's was astoudingly friendly and wine-competent. Just a place to get something simple and follow the lead of a guy who makes excellent wine recc's  with the same aplomb that most people give directions to the deli and relax.  Go Aafter 8:30.

And, of course, trust Carolyn more than me.

Haha.

Models in st Helena? Is it pure bakery? Any lunch choices? Will be in St Helena saturday.

Was thinking Jeanty but one of the dining companions has been several times and wanted something new(he had not tried).

They have tables at the bakery, but I think you're basically dealing with pastries and coffee. PM ArtisanBaker and he'll fill you in. I'm sure he's also got a lot of info on the neighborhood places, as well.

I have been alerted to yet another Thomas Keller restaurant, Ad Hoc, also in Yountville, so those of us who don't live there have a chance to actually eat at a Keller place before the cookbook comes out. :laugh:

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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I, too, am heading to Napa and the surrounding area late this week and am back here to get your recommendations.  I've never eaten at Jeanty, but it's now at the top of the (admittedly short) list of places to try.

Reading eGullet has given me plenty of wineries to check out in the past, so a belated thank you for that to everyone here.  I'm lucky enough that not only can I read the forums here, but I can also make it a couple times a year up that way to try what I'm learning.

Now, if only I can somehow double the number of working taste buds in my mouth I might approach having a discerning palate.

Finally, here are the wineries that I'm going to be re-visiting Thursday or Friday:

Bouchaine, Silverado, Casa Nuestra and possibly Coppola.

I'll link to any worthwhile pics I shoot early next week.

Be aware that Coppola (now Rubicon Estate) now charges $25.00 per person just to get in the place. I believe this also includes a tasting of 5 wines. More on the website here.

"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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I, too, am heading to Napa and the surrounding area late this week and am back here to get your recommendations.  I've never eaten at Jeanty, but it's now at the top of the (admittedly short) list of places to try.

Reading eGullet has given me plenty of wineries to check out in the past, so a belated thank you for that to everyone here.  I'm lucky enough that not only can I read the forums here, but I can also make it a couple times a year up that way to try what I'm learning.

Now, if only I can somehow double the number of working taste buds in my mouth I might approach having a discerning palate.

Finally, here are the wineries that I'm going to be re-visiting Thursday or Friday:

Bouchaine, Silverado, Casa Nuestra and possibly Coppola.

I'll link to any worthwhile pics I shoot early next week.

Be aware that Coppola (now Rubicon Estate) now charges $25.00 per person just to get in the place. I believe this also includes a tasting of 5 wines. More on the website here.

Heck, I'm going to a tasting that charges us $40! But I'm told its (del dotto) well worth the steep price.

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I, too, am heading to Napa and the surrounding area late this week and am back here to get your recommendations.  I've never eaten at Jeanty, but it's now at the top of the (admittedly short) list of places to try.

Reading eGullet has given me plenty of wineries to check out in the past, so a belated thank you for that to everyone here.  I'm lucky enough that not only can I read the forums here, but I can also make it a couple times a year up that way to try what I'm learning.

Now, if only I can somehow double the number of working taste buds in my mouth I might approach having a discerning palate.

Finally, here are the wineries that I'm going to be re-visiting Thursday or Friday:

Bouchaine, Silverado, Casa Nuestra and possibly Coppola.

I'll link to any worthwhile pics I shoot early next week.

Be aware that Coppola (now Rubicon Estate) now charges $25.00 per person just to get in the place. I believe this also includes a tasting of 5 wines. More on the website here.

Heck, I'm going to a tasting that charges us $40! But I'm told its (del dotto) well worth the steep price.

I dunnno.... there's enough wineries in Napa who don't charge at all; many of whom include barrel tastings (like Del Dotto) and other quality wines. I guess I'm jaded in that respect. I hate paying for tastings at all.

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I think that Press is good and has a cozy atmosphere as well as good wine list. Bistro Jeanty is excellent but don't waste time or money at Go Fish. Of course one of my favorite places to go is Taylor's Refresher. The tuna burger is great and the garlic fries and the beer list rocks!!

Dining at Martini house one night. Any favorites under $100?

http://www.martinihouse.com/menus/wine_list.pdf

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Terra Valentine up Spring Mountain. The Pinot is a winery-exclusive wine (it isn't sold in stores). Smoky, dense, cloudy, and sweet. For very boutique, check out Skewis. They produce 1,000 cases total across all of their vineyards.

EDIT: My bad. I just remebered Skewis is in Healdsburg. That one is probably off the radar.

Edited by SiseFromm (log)

R. Jason Coulston

jason@popcling.com

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Any thoughts on boutique winery with excellent pinot between napa and sonoma?

Schug Winery is also known for their Pinot. If you're in that area, also try Gloria Ferrer. They're known for sparkling, but also do a nice Pinot.

Edited to add: I forgot one of my favorites down in Carneros...Ceja Vineyards makes a SUPERB Pinot. Make sure if you go to Ceja to meet Amelia...she's QUITE a dynamic person!!

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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Terra Valentine up Spring Mountain.  The Pinot is a winery-exclusive wine (it isn't sold in stores).  Smoky, dense, cloudy, and sweet.  For very boutique, check out Skewis.  They produce 1,000 cases total across all of their vineyards.

EDIT: My bad.  I just remebered Skewis is in Healdsburg.  That one is probably off the radar.

Funny you should mention Skewis. I had a glass of their Floodgate Vineyard at the French Laundry and really, really liked it. It is out of the Valley, but I'd make the trip.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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Its hard to do trips with a large group, everyone has an agenda. I just found out one of the group people wants to do silver oak! F**k! I guess I will just have to lay down on this one?

Skewis, Terrra V, Miner, Etude, shug and all the others look to be fine recs and certainly more wine imprtant but alas I must forego any conflict as I have already stirred the pot with some in the group. Some people just have to have comfortable/reliable things. I don't get it, I can get Shramsberg in Houston, Silver Oak is everywhere. When do you have the oppurtunity to try wines from the people that really matter? I can tell you, when you are in their backyard, thats when.

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Its hard to do trips with a large group, everyone has an agenda. I just found out one of the group people wants to do silver oak! F**k! I guess I will just have to lay down on this one?

No! Fight for your right -- and tell them that a number of knowledgeable people have informed you that the Silver Oak tasting is more than a waste of time. Not enough wines to warrant stopping and those that are available are young, hot, and not the classic Silver Oak of days-gone-by!

Send 'em to this thread!

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