Monday, January 3, 2011

Dinner at Rotisserie and Wine, Napa

My sister gave us a gift certificate to the new Tyler Florence restaurant in Napa, Rotisserie and Wine. We got to the Napa Riverfront early enough to walk around.
Munch loves the pathways that go around the park and under the bridge.
And when we discovered this little path to the entrance to Celadon restaurant (still been meaning to go there!), Munch couldn't resist the decorated archways with their twinkling lights-
After a good amount of meandering, Rotisserie and Wine was opening its doors, so we scooted our chilled selves inside.
The restaurant was "Wine Country casual" with its wine bottle and barrel lighting and the jeans and plaid-shirted waitstaff (a fun touch at first, but once you saw the variety of shirts, it just felt a little like a mish mash). I loved the mix of dark blue-grey walls hung with platters and the white subway tile along the front wall- it felt like I was dining in someone's home- can I be a houseguest? And, while I really liked the clusters of huge glass jug/pendant lamps on one side of the dining room, Munch thought these chandeliers would look better "without the wood on it".
Having been among the first to dine that evening, we were seated at a great table in the center of the restaurant, along the back wall. It was terrific to watch all the activity in the restaurant and I was also glad to have the lighting here so that Munch could doodle during dinner even though it wasn't as cozy as a square table. I loved the green water glasses, especially after realizing that they were made from the bottoms of wine bottles!
I had checked the menu online and also read the chowhound and yelp reviews earlier in the afternoon. I was pleased to see that Jeremy Fox, previously of Ubuntu, was in Rotisserie and Wine's kitchen and that Tyler Florence was also on hand that evening. I decided we'd order several plates to share so we could taste as much as possible! While we were perusing the menu, the kitchen sent out a plate of cornbread sticks- yum! I noted that our waiter made of point of mentioning that mac and cheese WAS on the menu (referring to Munch), but listed as "cavatelli" (thanks, buddy- I NEVER would have guessed!) I responded that Munch would be sharing everything that we ordered, thank you very much. Meanwhile, Munch set to work nibbling half of her cornbread stick, ignoring the honey butter I had set on her plate. When AudioDad and I both asked if she didn't want butter, she replied matter-of-factly, "I'm tasting half with, and half without" pointing to the piece remaining on her plate. Okaaay, then...
From the "Snacks" section of the menu, we ordered the deviled Jidori egg (2 halves per order) and a cheese puff (think gougere) oozing with jack cheese and topped with bacon. The puffs come individually, but sharing worked for us as it was fairly large (although next time I think AudioDad will want his own!) Munch was fairly fixated on deconstructing her deviled egg (she loves those, but prefers to taste each component separately), but agreed to taste a bite of the cheese puff and ended up eating much of that too. She was thrilled to discover that we could easily make them at home, so expect a gougeres post in the hear future...
Here's the cheese puff- sorry for the poor photo quality; I had two hungry eaters waiting!
Next up, a winter salad and biscuits and ham from the "To Share" menu. The salad was gorgeous and delicious, with a nice, peppery bite.
The buttermilk biscuit was my favorite dish of the night- a huge biscuit, split and stuffed with prosciutto and topped with a dollop of pepper jam, surrounded by sausage gravy with brussel sprouts. From looking back at the yelp reviews, it seems that the month-old restaurant is still tweaking their presentation (and serving sizes), as several dishes, including this one, are described quite differently by other reviewers. Munch made quick work of the prosciutto ("Ham!" she exclaimed, as it was set on the table), and I LOVED that pepper jam- we will definitely be coming back for this dish.
Our next dish was the Meat and Bones, from the Rotisserie menu- two slices of medium-rare prime rib topped with horseradish cream, a breadcrumb-crusted marrow bone, and a popover. Munch proclaimed her meat "just right pink". By this point, having watched Munch finish the bits of radish and micro-greens on her deviled egg, gobble up the cheese puff and request more biscuit and brussel-sprouted sausage gravy, and even clean her plate of the winter salad, all while maintaining a perfectly appropriate little-lady demeanor and volume level since being seated, both our waiter and the neighboring table decided that compliments were in order. "She's a sweetheart!" the table next to us whispered. Our waiter asked her name and remembered it for the remainder of the meal. When that cast-iron casserole of fancy pasta and cheese arrived, Munch had certainly earned it.
Dessert was up next. We went with the cheese plate, as it would be Audiodad's favorite, and the "cookies and milk"- Munch's pick. Dessert took a strangely long time to arrive, and when it did, it was just the cookies and milk. The cheese would be coming, we were assured, but we might as well begin with this-
The cookies: an assortment of bacon(!), ginger, chocolate sea salt, and one I can't remember. The little piggie cookie was adorable and really smelled of bacon, but tasted just like a sugar/butter cookie. Munch was again excited to hear that we could definitely make the ginger and the chocolate sea salt cookie (her favorite of the selection) at home, and she loved the vanilla panna cotta drizzled with the most syrupy balsamic vinegar- it was delicious!
More time passed, and eventually the cheese plate arrived, with apologies and compliments of the house.
It was yummy and I was glad to try the Pt. Reyes cheddar (never knew they didn't just make blue!)- we all liked it best and will have to hunt it down in the future. I heard later from my sister that she also had a delay with the cheese plate, and sitting at the bar, had watched the kitchen painstakingly assemble it. Must be the swirled apple slices- looks just like those wood shop whirly do-dad projects, doesn't it?
While we waited for the check, Munch and I had fun with the camera-
On the way out, we made sure the thank the chef-

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