In the Valley
By Bob & Sue
With “food churches” Meadowood and The French Laundry temporarily closed, we enjoyed comfort food at many of Napa’s popular restaurants:
Cindy Pawlcyn’s Mustards Grill (Yountville) and Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen (St. Helena) define modern California cuisine in fun environments with wonderful soups, a wide variety of appetizers, and innovative tweaks to the creative meat main courses.
Bar Terra (St. Helena) is the casual side of this James Beard-award winner for best restaurant in the United States. Hiro Sone’s innovative menu includes hearty soups (cream of artichoke with goat cheese), delicious pastas (pork sumo tortellini with black truffles and ramen with pork), and a deep wine list.
Angéle (Napa) is a quaint riverfront Provencal style restaurant that offers traditional French food including onion soup, delicious salads and a lobster and shrimp boudin sausage.
At Solbar (Calistoga), Chef Brandon Sharp offers one of the best brunches in the valley in this recently renovated restaurant within a spa resort. Highlights included Sunday fried chicken, spicy shrimp lettuce cups, a New Orleans chilled dungeness crab varigote with creole mustard and mayonnaise, and a duck bahn mi sandwich.
We love lunch at REDD (Yountville) featuring Richard Reddington’s Asian influences on exciting appetizers such as calamari with tamarind sauce, steamed pork buns with hoisin sauce, Thai chili chicken wings, and lettuce cups with stir fried chicken, eggplant and scallions.
Morimoto (Napa) serves outstanding hot appetizers including gioza topped with a potato tweel and bacon foam, spicy crab in its shell, rock shrimp tempura, slow cooked pork ribs, and bone marrow topped with caramelized bread crumbs.
Michael Chiarello serves up hearty Italian fare at Bottega (Yountville) including speck and melon, tagliarini bologonese with a veal, pork and mushroom sauce, risotto (with black truffles in season), and duck confit with huckleberries.
Bistro Jeanty (Yountville) has long been a favorite. This traditional French bistro is the place to go for onion soup, tomato soup in crust, quenelles in lobster sauce, and coq au vin.
Thomas Keller was doing a pop up named Ad Lib during the French Laundry closing, which featured traditional fare such as New England clam chowder, caesar salad prepared table side, lamb chops and creamed spinach, and risotto with black truffles.