Needed somewhere nice & reasonable by LAX for dinner & when I made resvs, the hostess mentioned their complimentary wine tasting at 6pm last night - 'The Best of Napa.' Cute restaurant with patio out front, dining area with open kitchen (combination of preferred booths, low tables for 2 or more & high bar type tables, so be specific when you reserve) & another larger patio in back. All red brick & wood beams - very charming.
I was shocked by the qualty of this complimentary wine tasting - Stag's Leap Merlot, Phelps & Mt. Reeder Cabs, Pine Ridge Dijon Clone (absolutely delicious!) & Merryvale Chards, a Fume Blanc, Sav Blanc, & many more merlots & Cabs I wasn't as excited about. They pour until the wine is gone - the place became packed for obvious reasons, but still able to get to the wine, clean glasses & have a little chat with the pourers about the wines. They do this every Monday night and, as free, is quite the bargain & a whole lot of fun!
We sat out front for dinner & tried to get a bottle of that Pine Ridge, but none available - guess they poured it all! Ended up with a Franciscan Chard @ $36. Very reasonable mainly Californian wine list, with a rare exceptiongn of a Gaja Barbaresco for $260, which sounded reasonable, too - sorry, spacing on the year '91 or '01.... I know it matters, but after all those tastings...
The chunky sliced bread was wonderful - dark brown bread like I loved in Germany, a whole grain & a white - all with garlic butter on the side - definitely needed that after all the wine tastings! We had the steamed Manila clams ($11.50), which was very generous & good - not stellar or the best ever, but good. The tempura shrimp with 2 dipped sauces - a sweet chili & a spicy remoulaude - was very very tasty. We split the halibut ($23.50) & they divided it beautifully onto 2 huge plates - macadamia coconut encrusted with citrus beurre blanc & tropical salsa - delicious!! Only complaint is that I am so sick of mashed potatoes & everything seems to come with them, so we substituted garlic linguini, which was no problem & definitely a good idea!
Excellent friendly service. We'll be back - one of the best & most fun meals I've had in ages!
Upcoming wine tastings are:
7/03 Wolf-Blass, 7/10 - Ravenswood, 7/17 - Rhones, 7/24 - Cline & 7/31 - The Best of Sonoma. Bummed we missed the Gary Ferrel & the French Burgundy tastings, but maybe they'll do those again...