I would take them to Marc Forgione. Best food service, atmosphere and quality for the price.
ROMANTIC- ELEGANT- SERVICE- PERFECTION- SEASONAL
PRICE- VERY EXPENSIVE
VIBE- BEAUTIFUL SEASONAL VAULTED CAVERN
There are few restaurants that compare with the romance, elegance and perfection of Bouley. The Tribeca restaurant of reknowned chef David Bouley has moved to a new location from past years, but when one enters the exquisite fresh Apple adorned entrance, the mature pre-dining lounge and finally the cavernous, autumnal, vaulted dining room, you feel as if you are part of history. The room is an absolute fairy tale.
Bouley serves dishes Ala carte, the extravagant 8 course Dinner Tasting Menu for $95 or the well priced Tasting Menu lunch for $45 which are both available with wine pairings for about double the price. For this quality of a restaurant, it is one of the easier reservations to secure in New York.
We were in with a grin; Tasting Menu it was.
The Green Apple sorbet, red and golden beets, avocado Amuse bouche was a refreshing starter before the meal. The red and golden beets and avocado were relatively simple and the sorbet had to be eaten in combination to get full effect.
Playful and texturally diverse, the Chilled Chatham Oyster with a soy meyer lemon cloud, salmon trout roe, kafir lime yuzu glaze, micro watercress surprised me for being very original and delightfully light and subtle.
A more simple, expected dish was the fresh Carpaccio Of Kampachi, Blue Fin Tuna And Striped Amber Jack prepared in a mediterranean manner
Not particularly photogenic, but astounding was the Porcini Flan, Alaska Live Dungeness Crab, Black Truffle Dashi. Under the Black Truffle Dashi, this soup was an umame ambrosia (boy I must be excited!) of crab and mushroom.
The generosity and layers of texture, flavour, warmth in this dish were remarkable. The waitress did laugh when I commented it wasn’t very photogenic which was amusing.
Once again a playful, fruity (sweet and meaty) take on the Chatham Day Boat Lobster brown and white honshimeji mushrooms, passion fruit and mango. The sauce was subtle but enhanced the sweetness of the lobster meat and had a lovely earthiness from the mushroom.
BEWARE the BREAD JAIL!!… no in all seriousness; very delicious and vast bread selection.
A light, perfectly cooked Mediterranean Cod, Grilled Tomatoes, broad beans, thyme was balanced, springlike and refreshing.
In contrast the wonderfully heavy, sticky, meaty Slow Braised Kobe Style Beef Cheeks blue kale gnocchi absolutely stole the show. It was so multidimensional with the textures and flavours of the fall-apart beef and firm little baby gnocchi.
Pork Medallions apple, juniper berry and onion reduction were deliciously light for pork and sweetened with the reductions of different autumn fruits.
Ricotta icecream sweet rose syrup was a sweet, creamy palette cleanser but nothing remarkable.
Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear valrhona chocolate, biscuit breton, hot toffee sauce lemon verbena and tahitian vanilla ice creams for me was a bit too sweet. It was lovely to have the caramelised pear but the chocolate inside overpowered the flavour of the baked fruit and didn’t need to have as many elements.
What meal wouldn’t be completely decadent without some gooey, warm chocolate? This role was effortlessly filled by the Hot Valrhona Chocolate Souffle white coffee cloud, chocolate sorbet.
Overall BOULEY is flawless, solid, elegant perfection of a top tier French restaurant. Fantastically romantic, perfectly executed cuisine, options for all kinds of people and service that is excellent and humble. It is very expensive especially when pairing with wines, but it is an absolute luxury and worth the experience.
TRES TRES “SWEET AND MEATY’
163 Duane St. (bet. Greenwich & Hudson Sts.)
Manhattan, NY 10013
WARM- WOODY- ZEN- UNDERSTATED- VEGETABLE -JAPANESE
PRICE- EXPENSIVE $$$
VIBE- QUIET COOKED JAPANESE
Down a small set of stairs on a quiet street in New York’s East Village is a kyoto style Japanese restaurant that serves traditional Kyoto style Japanese in a quiet, tranquil, rosewood coloured room.
The staff are very welcoming, all Japanese and makes it feel like a family run restaurant.
The dishes are good for sharing and can be ordered ala carte, but also have kaiseki Chef’s menus for $95, $120 or $150.
We went ala carte starting with a very lightly Pickled Melon which was very underwhelming.
The fresh “Kyo-Ya” Salad- seasonal julienne vegetables with house dressing ($18) had large seared pieces of thick sashimi and was generous in size. It had asian flavours with bonito flakes and little invigorating japanese herbs.
One of the most interesting dishes was the Seafood Shutoan scallop, blue shrimp and king crab with cured bonito sauce ($16) which seemed to bathed in a raw egg yolk sauce. The texture was gooey, sticky and coated the sweet, raw seafood. I enjoyed it, but it definitely is only for those that are adventurous.
Probably the most delicious dish was a special of Sweet and Dark Miso Baked Eggplant. It was interesting to taste the difference in Miso flavours. This dish was warm, salty, gooey and made vegetables feel like an absolute treat.
The Sagoshi & Kinoko Nabe is a Hot pot with spanish mackerel and assorted mushrooms in broth ($23) that continues to boil at the table above a candle burner and is simply clean and satisfying. Like something you would eat to rejuvenate yourself if tired or sick, this loving, mild broth has delicate tofu, fresh mackerel, mushrooms (of all shapes and varieties) and baby bok choy. Shared between two it almost feels ritualistic.
The tasty, Jidori Inaka Miso miso marinated grilled organic chicken with sansho pepper ($16) was more yummy than it looked because it had a strong flavour of lemongrass which made it much more complex than a miso marinade.
OVERALL - Kyo Ya is an interesting experience where you feel the grace and warmth of another side of Japanese cuisine. I think it is a bit overpriced and perhaps I am not an expert in Kyoto cuisine, but some of the dishes, however interesting, seemed clumsy. Great for vegetarians who want to have a more interesting choice.
DARK- OILY- ITALIAN - HEARTY- COOL
PRICE- MODERATE $$
Halfway down quaint Elizabeth Street, in New York’s hip Nolita is the hearty, Italian restaurant and subterranean bar called Peasant. The restaurant upstairs is warm and civilised while the cavernous bar downstairs is and more fun and naughty.
This hotspot has been around for about 8 years and still is busy churning out oily, hearty Italian fare.
We decided to get together for dinner in the bar which feels a little like a medieval devil’s lair.
The menu has a wide variety of Italian dishes at moderate prices. The portions are small to average and most are very heavy and oily.
We shared a bunch of starters including the chewy, oily Polpo, Grilled Octopus, garlic and herbs ($14), a refreshing, spring-like Barbabietola, baby beet salad ($12) and a piping-hot rich Seppie In Terracotta cuttlefish, cherry tomatoes, parsley ($12).
Liubasha with the Combination Meat and Cheese plate ($22
- girl not included) is fun to share and taste a few different cuts of Italian cured meats and cheeses.
Hearty and Creamy Risotto Funghi with wild mushrooms ($29) is perfect for a cold night but very rich.
A dish with fantastic rustic presentation is the Spiedini Alla Pollastra baby hen with herb & bread stuffing ($22) served on a large wooden board with all its drippings mixing in with the wood.
Peasant has a good selection of wine and a good bottle of red seems appropriate amongst the brick walls and beaten up wooden tables. The service is usually vacant and understaffed but assumedly cool enough to allow this.
Go, drink wine, and eat hearty, bold Italian fare that might fatten you up in a trendy scene with friends or a date.
194 Elizabeth St. (bet. Prince & Spring Sts.)
Manhattan, NY 10012
UPTOWN- EUROPEAN- MATURE- CLASSIC
VIBE- BRUNCH WITH THE PARENTS
VIBE- BRUNCH WITH THE PARENTS
I hardly venture to New York’s “Uptown” (because I’m such a trendy downtown girl of course) but always curious to try new things we discovered the civilized cuisine that exists up there, beyond 60th street marked by the beginning of beautiful Central Park. Before a lovely walk through the changing leaves, we went for brunch to a classic elegant spot called Amaranth. Deceivingly named after the healthy grain, is really a small restaurant serving a modern French menu to European and older New York clientele.
The service was very bad that day- slow, stupid to take and deliver the order but I must say we changed tables and this confusion was perhaps due to my inappropriate judgement of fall weather.
The Baby Artichokes with avocado and Parmigiano $15 was beyond expectation. Rich, creamy, crunchy, tasty but all in a nourishing, good way.
The Tuna Tartare extra virgin olive oil, sesame and soy sauce dressing $18 was equally excellent. Very fresh, very clean; simple but top quality.
The Halibut Filet sautéed with capers, olives, cherry tomato, haricots verts $32 was like a Mediterranean Meuniere executed perfectly; tasty and rich but allowed the fish to not be overpowered. A very buttery dish however.
The tender, juicy Organic Sirloin Steak peppercorn sauce, served with organic mixed green or fries $35 looked like nothing special but I assure you was superb. The sauce was mild but interesting and the portion was more than generous.
Overall Amaranth was a wonderful weekend brunch experience and the food was outstanding and exceeded expectation. The portions were very generous; great value for the quality as well.
Perfect for taking your folks when they visit or a posh brunch. Go for a walk to the Central Park Zoo for a fun day out.
“Weekend Treat and Meaty”
21 E. 62nd St. (bet. 5th & Madison Aves.)
Manhattan, NY 10065
COSY- UPSCALE- AUTUMNAL- INVENTIVE- BISTRO
OUT OF 10
FOOD-8 SERVICE-6 DECOR-8 PRICE- MODERATE
VIBE- BUZZY UPSCALE BAR WITH FOLIAGE
No reservation? Last minute but you want great upscale food downtown?
The walk-in only front room at the ever-famous autumnal Gramercy Tavern is more casual than its grown up main dining room but offers great food and reasonable prices but comes with lengthy waits.
The three course menu is an absolute bargain at $38 or you can order ala carte; appetizers $10-16 and main courses $18-22 which is outstanding quality at these prices. You will have a long wait on a popular friday or saturday night but waiting at the woodland-like bar is pleasant if you go ahead of time. Going on a Tuesday would be ideal.
Baked clams, leeks and white wine – Hearty pieces of clam in a warm, moist broth under a satisfying, crispy crumb crust. BEST dish on the days tasting menu.
Sweet Red Shrimp, Brussel Sprouts, Spelt Gnocchi, Chestnut emulsion - Interesting combination of flavours and textures, not quite convinced on the grainy spelt gnocchi but the chestnut emulsion did a wonderful job of bringing the seafood elements together with the fall vegetables.
Grilled Pork Chop, kielbasa, pork belly and pear – Hearty, meaty moist pork, paired with lovely combinations of sweet pear, salty, crispy pork belly and a lovely sweet reduction drizzle.
Corvina cauliflower, fava beans and porcini $22 – Not on the tasting menu but a special of the day, the corvina was underwhelming and unfortunately bland for a restaurant of this stature but acceptable for the price.
Sauteed Brussel sprouts $9- Fresh, fluffy individual leaves in a light salty butter. Yum.
Apple Ricotta Pie, green apple sorbet- An inventive and light dessert, just enough creaminess with the smear of ricotta under the pastry plus a refreshing green apple sorbet.
The restaurant has an open kitchen where you can see chefs preparing the courses and a large bar where the hungry well-to-do foodies wait. It has a busy upscale but downtown vibe; much less formal than the main restaurant.
We got a grumpy, rude waitress that evening. I don’t think that’s normal but they should pair their service with the level of food.
Overall a great spot; nice to save a few pennies while eating good-value top cuisine. Remember to go early though or you may spend it all while waiting one or two hours at the bar. ;)
42 E. 20th St. (bet. B’way & Park Ave. S.)
Manhattan, NY 10003
TRENDY- MODERN- SEAFOOD - MEGA RESTAURANT
OUT OF 10
FOOD-7.5 SERVICE-7 DECOR-7.5 PRICE- MODERATE
VIBE- MEAT PACKING NIGHT-OUT
Recently opened during September Fashion Week in New York, CATCH is the new seafood mega-restaurant on the corner of 13th and 9th Avenue in the Meat Packing District.
It is all a mega restaurant for the masses could ever want to be. Three floors consisting of restaurant space, bars and a rooftop with open kitchens everywhere which gives a lot of ambience. The décor is the modern wooden design of the moment, lit with candles and since it is so big can accommodate dates right up to large groups.
The menu is mainly seafood with a few exceptions and features sushi, raw dishes and main courses.
Ceviche shrimp, snapper, orange $15
The Ceviche with shrimp, snapper, orange was light, fresh and well balanced. One of the best dishes.
Crab-Stuffed Calamari chorizo, chickpea, piquillo, mint, chili-lime $16
The interesting Crab-Stuffed Calamari with chorizo, chickpea, piquillo, mint, chili-limewas warm and bold as the spicy meatiness of the chorizo gave a lot of body to the dish.
Hellfire Roll spicy tuna two-ways, pear, balsamic $14
The Hellfire Roll spicy tuna two-ways with pear and balsamic was good but nothing amazing. The flavours didn’t really stand out as you would imagine.
Scallop & Cauliflower pistachio, tamarind brown butter $26
The Scallop & Cauliflower with pistachio and tamarind brown butter was a lovely classic dish. The flavours were mild and the scallops cooked perfectly but for a main course it was very small.
Herb-Roasted Branzino creamy vegetable basmati $48
The Herb-Roasted Branzino creamy vegetable basmati was a impressive roasted fish dish. A good sized fish stuffed with a basmati rice pilaf that was interestingly prepared with Mediterranean herbs and vegetables. It tasted much better than I expected.
Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc from California and it’s a nice healthy meal to start a fun night out in a buzzing part of town.
Chefs cooking in the open kitchen
Overall: CATCH is a great place to take friends to enjoy the buzz of New York city, in a attractive, trendy mega restaurant, steps away from all Meat Packing District nightlife has to offer. The food is fresh, delicious and healthy.
LIGHT AND EASY ”Fish and Ceviche”
21 9th Ave
Btwn 13th & Little W 12th St,
PLAYFUL- CASUAL- OILY- INVENTIVE- ASIAN
OUT OF 10 FOOD-7.5 SERVICE-6.5 DECOR-7 PRICE- MODERATE VIBE- BRIGHT COUNTRYSTYLE COMMUNAL
OUT OF 10
FOOD-7.5 SERVICE-6.5 DECOR-7 PRICE- MODERATE
VIBE- BRIGHT COUNTRYSTYLE COMMUNAL
A small raised shop on Hudson Street in the West Village, is home to the newly opened RED FARM. Showcasing whimsical dumplings that look like pac-man and mini gardens of vegetables it takes the neighbourhood Asian joint to a new level.
The brightly lit, farm-style room (I’m sure farms in Asia do not look like this..) is designed with 2 very large wooden communal tables and a few smaller tables for couples. Having dined here twice under their no-reservation walk-in only policy its pretty slim chances to get your own table so be prepared to have a friendly chat with the yuppie neighbours next to you.
The menu has appetizers, dumplings, stir-fries and noodles or rice dishes designed to be shared.
Shu Mai Shooters 2 for $7
A wonderful dish is the Shu Mai Shooters where the hot moist dumpling is skewered and sits a-top a shot glass of the delicate carrot ginger soup. This is one of the most memorable dishes of the year for me.
Grilled Vegetable Salad $12
A very playful Grilled Vegetable Salad is made by placing a layer of edamame “hummous” and contained with thin wholegrain crackers has the vegetables of the salad “planted” into it to make the mini garden. It is super fun, delicious and healthy!
Kung Pao Chicken & Scallion Dumplings 6 for $12
The Kung Pao Chicken & Scallion Dumplings are sticky, sweet and just slightly spicy. The dough is thin and the chicken is tasty inside the moist parcels. They are quite oily so go for the other steamed dumplings if so inclined.
Shrimp & Snow Pea Leaf Dumplings 4 for $10
The Shrimp & Snow Pea Leaf Dumplings is adorably plated like little toads. The green dumpling dough and the delectable large pieces of shrimp inside are crisp with a bite.
Sauteed Lobster, Egg & Chopped Pork
A special that night was the Sauteed Lobster, Egg & Chopped Pork . The egg gave the flavor of a really good fried rice and was wonderfully rich with the meat of a generous Lobster. Very fun plating again.
Diced Lamb With Chinese Broccoli & White Asparagus $24
A simpler but not less important dish was the tender Diced Lamb With Chinese Broccoli & White Asparagus. It was rich, thick, syrupy and meaty but so oily it was impossible not to feel guilty trying it.
Overall REDFARM is a fun neighbourhood restaurant with good hearty Asian food. It doesn’t beat the big boys in Asian cuisine in the city but its casual playfulness makes it an experience worth trying.
529 Hudson St. (bet. Charles & W. 10th Sts.) Manhattan, NY 10014
LEGENDARY- ELEGANT- SERVICE- INVENTIVE- NUMEROUS
OUT OF 10
FOOD-9 SERVICE-10 DECOR-9 PRICE- VERY EXPENSIVE
VIBE- EXCLUSIVE COUNTRY HOUSE CHIC
Yes, it is meant to be the best restaurant in the United States as decided by “Those People” that decide such things. It’s hard to go into the “event” which is a dinner at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry without a mountain of expectation.
A small miracle of knowing people who know people, who know a chef who knows a chef and some more begging got us a reservation on a Sunday night. A wonderful gift from a dear friend.
Surprisingly, the French Laundry is housed in an a small upscale countryhouse nestled in the foodie town of Yountville in the Napa Valley, California. Built in 1890 as a French Steam Laundry, this rustic two-story stone house is surrounded by a country garden planted with vintage roses, perennials and seasonal herbs. Across the small street is Keller’s display garden where dozens of rows of all types of herbs, fruits and vegetables grow on living display for the public to wander around and feel romantic about the harvest of our mother earth.
Thomas Keller’s Garden across the street
When entering the French Laundry there is a small, hedged garden around the house and tasteful fairy lights illuminate the intimate garden courtyard. The house has several rooms of several sizes with tables seating larger groups and couples.
The service is absolute perfection. I had never experienced anything close to this level. When you are welcomed they already know your name. There is so much staff to cater for every minute detail and they seem to know what you are thinking before you do.
I was cold and was brought a beautiful cashmere pashmina for me. A bunch of loud southern politicians were getting into heated discussion and they tastefully asked if we would like to change tables to a different room. It was royal service. Everything was paced perfectly, and predicted.
The ambience is romantic and old fashioned, however the dining rooms are exceptionally quiet and people whisper to each other and appreciate the dishes in what someone quite aptly called the “church of Thomas Keller”. I found the beginning of the meal uncomfortable but excitingly anticipated the circus which was to come.
Super soft brioche bread with salted and unsalted butter.
The 9 course tasting menu with lots of extra treats in between is vast and adventurous. It costs $270, service included plus wine. It is excessive, indulgent; a once in a lifetime experience which any foodie should save up for. It is outrageously expensive- think of it as appreciating the fine art of cuisine, theatre and a holiday. The meal duration is about 4 to 5 hours.
The bread at the French Laundry is probably the best bread I have ever tried. It is light, rich and fluffy all at the same time. You can also get the same bread at Bouchon Bakery, his casual bakery in several cities in the USA.
“Oysters and Pearls” “Sabayon” of Pearls Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar
The Oysters and Pearls” “Sabayon” of Pearls Tapioca with Island Creek Oysters and White Sturgeon Caviar is one of Keller’s signature dishes. The tapioca was very rich and creamy (too much so) but the marine saltiness of oyster and caviar was interesting.
For me the much better dish was the Royal Ossetra Caviar- Dungeness Crab “Chawan Mushi”, Santa Barbara Sea Urchin and Scallion “Emincee” which was a much more delicate “chawan mushi” (japanese egg custard) topped with the flavourful sea urchin and delicate crab.
Moulard Duck “Foie Gras au Torchon”, Santa Rosa Plum, Fennel Bulb, Whipped White Honey and Pine Nut Compote.
The tasting menu gives you two options for most courses and there is also a vegetarian tasting menu. The Moulard Duck “Foie Gras au Torchon”, Santa Rosa Plum, Fennel Bulb, Whipped White Honey and Pine Nut Compote was very rich, sweet and buttery. It was served with fluffy, crusty warm bread. The refreshing flavours of the plum, fennel and sweetness of honey was wonderful. This course of foie gras was almost dessert-like to me. Like the highest quality “jam on toast” around. I wonder what Keller would say if I told him that!
“Caesar Salad”- Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster Tail, Caramelized Romaine Lettuce, Garlic Crisp and “Bottarga di Muggine”
Keller enjoys deconstructing classic dishes and there are a lot of “quotation marks” in his menu. The playful and luxurious interpretation of “Caesar Salad”- Sweet Butter-Poached Maine Lobster Tail, Caramelized Romaine Lettuce, Garlic Crisp and “Bottarga di Muggine” was light and delicious. The delicate dish had textures that were soft and stringy.
Fillet of Corvina, Chantarelle Mushrooms, Wild Ramps, Cilantro, and Madras Curry
A soft and delicate Fillet of Corvina, Chantarelle Mushrooms, Wild Ramps, Cilantro, and Madras Curry was very light but had punch from curry and mushrooms, bringing a warm and subtle depth to this light fish.
Other course included a Wolfe Ranch White Quail- “Ris de Veau”, Quail Egg, Yukon Gold Potato, Romano Beans and Radish (im always underwhelmed by quail- like sad little chickens.. hmmph..) and the decadent, rich and bold Elysian Fields Farm Lamb Ribeye- Eggplant, Brentwood Corn, Toybox Tomatoes, Spanish Capers and “Salsa Verde”. Meat is cooked to perfection and the balance of dishes were wonderful. The staff is very specified in the kitchen with each member meticulously caring over each course at their station.
The courses are all very small (4-5 bites) but numerous. I didn’t eat all day to prepare for this meal from advice given by people who had eaten at Per Se (Keller’s New York restaurant). There are so many flavours and little tastes of joyful creativity. It is a true show!
Chef plating the Cheese Course of “Cadence”- Silverado Trail Strawberries, Celery Branch and Hazelnuts.
The Cadence cheese was pungently flavourful and paired well with the strawberries and hazelnuts. I have NEVER had a cheese course as good yet light as this.
Caramelia Chocolate “Cremeux”- Gros Michel Banana, Georgia Peanuts, “Dentelle” and Salted Popcorn Icecream
By the time the desserts came we were so full and desensitized (like watching the second act of cirque du soleil) but for the sake of journalism, curiosity and honouring the food carried on.
The rich and bold Caramelia Chocolate “Cremeux”- Gros Michel Banana, Georgia Peanuts, “Dentelle” and Salted Popcorn Icecream was the sophisticated knock off of the “nutty, banana, chocolate” combo seen before.
“Coffee and Donuts” - Coffee mousse with foam and warm sugared donuts
Not on the menu, but told to order it by a chef friend of mine was the “Coffee and Donuts” . It was good and playful but I am not a donut fan. The light and fluffy coffee mousse under a fluffy cappuccino top was a textural delight.
Mignardises - Handmade chocolate to end the meal
A personal tour of the kitchen at French Laundry
Invited to visit the kitchen at the end of the meal was exciting. The sterile, lab-like stations showed how refined and perfectionistically this entire establishment is run.
French Laundry is by far the best service in the United States. It is elegant, royal and decadent and the food is an outstanding journey showing impeccable execution, ingredients and composition.
It is awkwardly formal but for the cost you almost want to feel like you are dining with the Queen of England. Overall, an exceptional experience witnessing someone whose passion for food developed fine cuisine from his small home town in the North East to now be one of the most celebrated Chefs in the world.
YOUR MAJESTY; PERFECTION OF “SWEET AND MEATY”
THE FRENCH LAUNDRY
6640 Washington Street,
Yountville. CA 94599
707 944 2380
ELEGANT- MATURE- SERVICE- CLASSIC- VIEW
OUT OF 10
FOOD-9 SERVICE-9 DECOR-9 PRICE-EXPENSIVE
VIBE- CHIC with SWEEPING LANDSCAPE VIEW
On top of one of the rolling hills overlooking Napa Valley sits the lovely Auberge du Soleil – a hotel with a world-class restaurant perched on the hill above it. The restaurant consists of 3 sections; a bar, casual bistro and elegant dining to cater for an easy bite to a super romantic meal.
The service is exquisite, food is top-notch and the vistas over the northern Californian countryside make the meal wonderfully memorable. The menu is either ala carte or a 4 course tasting menu for $115.
Tomato Soup with Caviar Amuse Bouche
A creamy tomato soup amuse bouche topped with caviar was sweet and salty, a good opener to start the palate.
Day Boat Scallop, Onion Purée, Vanilla
Opting for the tasting menu, the meal started with a delectably sweet and delicate Day Boat Scallop on Onion Purée with Vanilla was wonderful, plump and well complimented with the acid of citrus and fresh slaw. Interesting and vibrant fusion of flavours.
Poached Maine Lobster, Saba, Watermelon, Avocado, Ginger
The perfectly Poached Maine Lobster with Saba, Watermelon, Avocado and Ginger was the most interesting dish where the flavours of the delicate lobster was contained by the refreshing watermelon. A sophisticated fusion again.
Heirloom Tomato Risotto, Wild Shrimp, Tarragon, Yuzu Emulsion
The Heirloom Tomato Risotto with Wild Shrimp, Tarragon in a Yuzu Emulsion was fantastic. The al dente risotto was creamy and rich yet modern with the discreet Asian flavours of yuzu. A journey around the globe with Italian, French and Japanese influences blending beautifully.
Filet Steak, Chanterelles, Crisp Fingerlings, Cabernet Jus
The Filet Steak, Chanterelles, Crisp Fingerlings, Cabernet Jus was a classical French dish but prepared flawlessly. The flavours were bold and warming and well matched with a local Stag’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon.
Cherrie beignets, chocolate fudge, vanilla ice cream, berry sauce
The most playful dish was the Cherrie beignets with a crumbly chocolate fudge, vanilla ice cream and berry sauce.
The cherry beignets were literally fresh, pitted cherries in a doughnut shell served with a warm combination of chocolate fudge and homemade ice cream. It was a nice twist on relatively traditional flavours.
Call me a sceptic, but there sure were a lot of birthdays and anniversaries that night celebrated by chocolate cake with plated congratulations in chocolate sauce… When in rome.. be In Vogue and say its your birthday!
To enjoy the view either go for lunch or an early dinner to watch the sunset.
Overall, the food blends French and Asian cuisines interestingly but with classic sensibility. The thoughtful service and peaceful view at Auberge du Soleil were simply wonderful and would be very memorable for any special occasion.
Auberge du Soleil
180 Rutherford Hill, Rutherford, CA 94573
CHIC- EXCELLENT- QUALITY- CLASSIC- GROWN UP
OUT OF 10
FOOD-9 SERVICE-8 DECOR-8.5 PRICE- MODERATE VIBE- MODERN CHIC
Opened in 2005 in Yountville, in the heart of the Napa Valley, REDD is the first venture from acclaimed Northern California chef Richard Reddington (lucky to have easy name to shorten to!), formerly of Masa’s and Jardiniere in San Francisco, and Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley. Reddington offers an updated interpretation of wine country cuisine with influences from Asia, Europe, and Mexico in a relaxed yet elegant environment.
It is hard to pick favourites in Napa, but in my opinion, REDD wins top prize as far as food. Yes, better than French Laundry. The style is refined but honest with the best ingredients and balanced flavours.
Sashimi of hamachi, sticky rice, edamame, lime ginger sauce $15
The Sashimi of hamachi with sticky rice, edamame, lime ginger sauce is light, delicate and the Yellowtail is such good quality, balanced on this asian inspired dish.
Caramelized diver scallops, cauliflower purée, almonds, golden raisins $15
The Caramelized diver scallops with cauliflower purée, almonds, golden raisins was so perfectly textural; plump scallops, textural cauiiflower and almonds, and the golden raisins brought out the sweetness in the scallop. A beautiful, generous dish.
Sautéed skate, gnocchi, basil oil, pea foam $28
I never see enough Skate on menus and this delicate fish when cooked perfectly is a joy. The Sautéed skate with gnocchi, basil oil, pea foam was light and flavourful, brought together by a herb pea foam, light vegetables and the crispy gnocchi and skate.
Prime new york steak, Fingerling Potatoes, Cipollini Onions, Red Wine Jus $29
The Prime new york steak, Fingerling Potatoes, Cipollini Onions, Red Wine Jus was a beautifully executed Steak; rare and soft, tender and tasty. The sauces and textures were classic and beautiful. Reddington’s cooking doesn’t really push many boundaries for well travelled foodies but it serves up classic dishes effortlessly at the highest level of cooking.
Chocolate · peanut butter beignets, bitter caramel ice cream, bananas $10
The Chocolate · peanut butter beignets with bitter caramel ice cream, bananas is a nice reinvention of donuts and molten chocolate cake (yummy but yawn!) and merges them together into warm little bundles of fun and warm richness. Paired with the bitter caramel ice cream its an adult version of a childlike treat.
The quality of food at this price is astounding. REDD delivers a beautiful fine dining experience which is worldly, modern and sophisticated. I like the fact it is refined without being overly fussy. The portion sizes are perfect and the service is nice enough.
I would say the room is a little grown up, and like most places in Napa, the average clientele are around 40-60 years old. But trends come and go, and a excellent chef succeeds with the tastes of any audience.
Redd is my top recommendation for food in Napa.
6480 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599