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Restaurants & Bars 3

Greystone, St. Helena

Lise | Nov 24, 200105:15 PM

So, as part of this week's excursions, my family went to Greystone for a late lunch. I don't see much about the CIA on this board, but given how many people ask about Napa Valley eats, I thought I'd let the Chowhounds know we had a pretty good meal there.

The green olives given to start were pretty addictive: cumin, tomato, and a bit of chili. Just salty, tangy, and spicy to get the somewhat over-indulged (from Turkey day) palate a-moving. We ordered some oysters--Kumamotos and Hog Island--which were nicely briny and served with a not-too-vinegary mignonette. My mom ordered the seared foie gras over persimmon bread pudding with diced quince and pomengranate seeds.Oddly enough, mom didn't share (perhaps an indication of how good it was). She did say it was quite good with the quince and pomegranate seeds offering a tart counterpoint to the richness of the foie gras; she said the bread pudding neither added nor detracted. I had a lovely bowl of fat mussels (which I had had there a couple of weeks ago as well, and the dish was good then, too) in a Romesco sauce--butter, garlic, onion, tomato, and diced chorizo with possibly a dash of cream added at the end. I forget that seafood and sausage can be such a good pairing. We all sopped up the sauce with grilled bread that had been brushed with a good amount of olive oil.

For main courses, mom had the wild mushroom lasagne. It was basically two large squares of pasta sandwiching mushrooms, spinach, and Bellweather crecenza cheese all in a cream sauce. I'm not sure how she ate this rich dish after the foie gras but she managed and enjoyed it quite a bit. Her only complaint was that she wished there hadn't been so many enoki mushrooms. I had a simple Niman Ranch grilled pork chop--juicy and flavorful--with chewy sage-flecked spaetzle and creamed cabbage. A glass of Acacia Beckstoffer Pinot '99 offered a fruity and light accompaniment. Dad had the Nantucket Bay scallops served with a foie gras,red wine reduction vinaigrette. I thought that combo would be rather odd but the richness of the wine, depth and sweetness of the foie gras, and the acidity of the vinegar made the scallops lively. He thoroughly enjoyed his '98 Shafer Merlot with that.There was more communal sopping of sauce.

We finished with biscotti--lemon poppyseed, chocolate almond, and dried cherry pecan, espresso, and some huckleberry sorbet (far too large a portion--3 scoops).While they enjoyed the sorbet, they kept comparing to Healdsburg's Downtown Bakery's Blackberry which they adored.

Don't know others' experience of the CIA, but there's ours.

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