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Angele in Napa; simply lovely food

Jennie Sheeks | Oct 20, 200404:02 PM

I have had the pleasure of eating at Angele here in Napa several times over the last two months and have to say, I think it's my new favorite place in town. I was intially skeptical, having heard of service glitches and less than stellar frites. Still haven't ordered the frites (they look too fat to me) but have found the food and service a delight, and it's actually possible to get a reasonably priced meal there.

As a note about the service, they seem to anticipate needs and fill them without the guest having to make a request. Plates are split. Slightly larger portions when an appetizer is ordered as a main dish.

In the warmer months, I enjoyed lunch on the patio overlooking the river (sometimes a nice view, sometimes not, depends on the tide). The gazpacho was utter simplicity; tomato, evoo, garlic, bread crumbs. Perfect. Delicious sweetbread appetizer. A very classic Croque Monsieur. They always have a sandwich of the day, served with a generous side salad, all for about $9-$10.

A small lunch was held in my honour on the patio just weeks ago. Schramsberg blanc de blanc helped us wash down charcuterie and cheeses. My roast half chicken with figs and greens was homey and delicious, swimming in reduction. The others at the table raved over their meals. We did have desserts. What they were I don't remember, I only know they were very good.

The most recent was quick, inexpensive Monday night supper. I ordered a salad of mixed greens, blue cheese & pears that had a light dressing rich in roasted shallot flavor. The kitchen graciously split the salad for us on two plates without my even having to ask. We followed with their macaroni gratin side dish. This is mac-n-cheese with finesse, and at $4 is a deal. Penne-like pasta with a light coating of a creamy sauce that smells and tastes of gruyere and roasted shallots. Crispy gratin topping. Augmented by a side dish of wild mushrooms sauteed in butter this was a cozy meal, and at $40 for two, a cheap meal by Napa Valley standards.

I have to give them props for their house wines. They offer a red, white & pink by the glass or by the carafe. I've not tried the white, but found the pink to be a refreshing, fruity, dry wine, and the red (a Cote du Rhone imported by Kermit Lynch) was delicious, a bit smoky, meaty, plummy. At $5 or $6 a glass, the house wines are a deal as well.

at the Napa River Inn in Napa

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