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Restaurants & Bars

Grubs Hit Bay (Napa) IV Wappo, Auberge, Jeanty, Train

Mr Grub | May 10, 200402:11 PM

Wappo Bar & Grill (Calistoga): Very nice lunch from their eclectic menu. Grubs shared mezze plate & steak sandwich. Nice selection of usual suspects on mezze plate, cautiously prepared. Steak sandwich perfectly cooked skirt steak (I do believe). Quaffed a robust & friendly priced ($30) Eagle Point Ranch Syrah with. Enjoyed all, but not truly memorable. Lovely patio setting & chop-house interior room. Safe as safe can be. (Trying very hard not to damn w faint praise. Wappo is a bit better than that.)

Bistro Jeanty (Yountville): Winner, winner, winner. Screams bistro – décor, menu, upbeat ambiance, service. Starters: pig’s feet (him) & artichoke (her). Pig’s feet an adventure as usual. Lots o’ work for those delectable morsels. Artichoke as good as it gets – hits the spot.

Mme Grubbe, having failed to achieve her cassoulet at Le Central in SF, delights in BJ’s version. Thick, robust, meat-laden, beautifully seasoned. She can’t give it a 10, but darned close. Le Grand Grubbe opts for hanger steak. Cooked nicely medium-rare (French-style, they didn’t ask how to cook it. It comes as rare as they can keep it.) Spot-on. Would return to BJ in a heartbeat.

Auberge du Soleil (Rutherford): Scored an A table at the window overlooking the sunset over the valley. Simply beautiful location & lovely room to boot. Ordered the $79 prix fixe. For Mme, foie gras, halibut, veal loin, strawberry dessert. For M., scallops, quail, lamb, choc dumpling.

Almost wo exception, dishes were beautifully prepared & presented, but overly cute. This is a place where the chef is clearly guilty of tricking up recipes w odd ingredients, thus making the whole far less than the sum of its parts. As La Grubbe observed, “Lamb w carmelized sweetbreads is like steak w a barbecued pork chop.”

Service restrained & impeccable. W overpriced $74 btl of Ravenswood Zin, 1 cocktail, 1 coffee, tab was $265 before tip. Lovely experience – once.

Screwing on our Deere ball caps, the Grubs boarded the wine train for a gourmet run up the valley. Cool concept for a hot day. Surprisingly good food nicely presented & reasonable wine choices makes for a pleasant 3+ hrs. We tried most everything, paired our own wines (not terribly successfully, I might add), & finished the tour happy w our decision to give it a shot. We opted for the dome car, which cost $95 pp, inc. one glass of sparkling.

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