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Restaurants & Bars 1

Fume Bistro in Napa (long)

Meredith | May 23, 2005 05:55 PM

I started to write this in response to the boston chowhound looking for places to eat after wine-tasting but it got a little long for that...

It is in Napa itself, but since you mentioned that as one of your possibilities, I thought I would still throw it out there.

I was in Napa this weekend and, after a morning of wine tasting and an afternoon of mostly port tasting (then a loooong nap) we finally started thinking about dinner. The concierge in our hotel offered to try to get us reservations at a few of the places I have read about here, but as I looked at menus, the only place I really seemed to be in the mood for was Fume Bistro.

We went and it was wonderful though very 'un-wine country' as I usually do it. After all that port, the idea of anything made from grapes frightened me so I actually had beer instead. We split a wood fired pizza margarita, which had tomato sauce instead of fresh tomatoes on it. We were thrilled. The crust was very thin and nicely crisped with a light topping of cheese and a kind of thick chiffonade of basil. It was exactly what we wanted, something delicious but very simple. As we were eating it, we regretted our decision not to just get one or two more of the pizzas to split for dinner, but to get entrees.
When they arrived, I felt much better about my plan. I ordered the ribs, which I was a little nervous about just looking at the menu. A restaurant where I am trying to decide between the ribs or the mustard crusted seared scallops generally makes me feel like the ribs aren't a very good idea. So I asked the waiter basically that - and he told me they were his favorite thing on the menu and how they were prepared. Rubbed with chipotle rub and then smoked, they are they grilled (I think) and covered in viscous and only half sweet spicy barbecue sauce. They were fantastic. The meat was falling off the bone, so if you are someone who likes your ribs to hold up a little bit better, these wouldn't be for you. The sauce was spicy with a slow burn that you didn't notice while taking a bite, but would keep forcing you ahead into eating another bite and another to cool it off. If only the sides were half as good as the ribs. The coleslaw tasted completely undressed. I couldn't detect any flavor other than chopped cabbage, red onion or carrot. The garlic fries were fairly soggy and even those that were crispy weren't really worth having. But as I had no room for them, anyway, I wasn't too disapointed.
If I were to do it again, I would ask for mashed potatoes rather than the fries as I have an unbreakable childish love for mashed potatoes that get barbecue sauce all over them. The other entree was the flatiron steak which was very well cooked, but just not as exciting to me as my ribs so I had a single bite and then continued trying to get through a whole rack of ribs on my own. Sadly, I failed.

But I did manage to have dessert. We were so happy with the way plain ordering was going that we had the night's dessert special - a strawberry sundae. It was two scoops of homemade strawberry ice cream, a scoop of strawberry sorbet, topped with strawberries, whipped cream and almonds. It tasted like the essesce of strawberries, which is something I have been missing in all the fresh berries I have bought so far this year. Really wonderful, except now I am craving strawberry ice cream and don’t know anywhere to get a good one. Any suggestions?

Oh I should probably add that the service was excellent and the space is very nice, though it would have been nicer still if their patio was open. That won’t happen until this weekend, apparently.

I think the total with the food, 2 beers, tax and a 25% tip was under $100 and it was exactly what we wanted for the night.

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