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Restaurants & Bars 13

Napa: BarBersQ – Are Michelin and the Chronicle kidding?

rworange | Mar 2, 200807:36 PM

Ok, I was going to be polite about this till I read the Chronicle review and this statement just pushed me over the edge …

“Outdoors enthusiasts can head for the umbrella-shaded tables that overlook the nicely landscaped parking lot.”

Uh … it is a parking lot and there is nothing striking about it … there is a stunning view of Target and a dialysis center is around the corner.

I found this restaurant extremely uncomfortable and I don’t care who the hoity-toity designers are. The chairs are metal. The tables and seats are jammed together. I went at an off hour, was the only person there and felt claustrophobic. The music was annoying. Here's another Chowhound report about how close the tables are ... although the report sounds initially positive, if you read it through ... not really ...

Not only that, it was hard to find. There is no sign just a big metal “Q”.

The Michelin guide lists it with reviewers’ favorite restaurants where you can eat two dishes and a glass of wine or a dessert for less than $40.

Seriously folks, with all the lovely and delicious restaurants in the Napa Valley … what is with sending visitors to a shopping mall to sit on concrete and drink in the sight of Whole Foods and inhale auto fumes?

Let me get the good out of the way
- my server was extremely nice … the other one … eh
- it smelled good and smoky in there
- the pecan pie looked incredible … didn’t get it though.

I feel like a cat about to pounce on a mouse my tail twitching back and forth … so just to cover myself … let me haul out that old chestnut … “perhaps I ordered wrong”. That’s as kind as I can get.

Perhaps not … here’s hhc’s report where she calls it just average

To give the Chronicle it’s due … it didn’t like the baked beans … but for reasons that were different than mine … Bauer wrote … ” I was then surprised that the Rancho Gordo baked beans ($4.95) were so disappointing, with an unexpectedly flat, harsh taste.”

What they do to RG beans are a crime … soft and mushy. They did have some nice spice, smoke and background sweetness … so flavor-wise … ok ... but that awful texture made each bite jarring.

I’m not sure if they purposely pureed beans and mixed in some whole beans … or froze and reheated them … or cooked them to beyond mushiness … I suspect the latter because the pieces of pork in it were tough as leather, but not as tasty.

I was really excited to try the hot dog described on the menu as

“Long Meadow Ranch Grass-Fed Beef Dog, Alexander Valley Sauerkraut, Potato Salad”

They use Alexis Baking Companies buns.

That was problem number one. The bun was like a shallow little boat. The dog perched precariously on it … the relish immediately rolled off into my lap. I didn’t ask them to pre-relish it. Nor did I request the artistic squiggle of Dijon mustard on top. I despise Dijon mustard and I had to scrape it off to get to the flavor of the hot dog.

Also the texture was all wrong for a hot dog bun … kind of like toasted pan de miel … way too unstable even if it was deep enough to hold dog and condiments.

The dog was grilled. This was not a snappy casing dog. Having had the wonderful 5 Dot Ranch juicy, flavorful dogs from Oxbow Market … this just paled in comparison.

There was a little container of Alexander Valley sauerkraut on the side. Saying it was about 1/8 cup would be a generous estimation. If serving a dog with kraut DO NOT PUT RELISH ON THE DOG. What is wrong with them?

On top of it I was asked if I wanted the chili dog ... would that be with relish and saurkraut?

PUT ALL THE CONDIMENTS ON THE SIDE !!!! Some people don’t like certain things on a hot dog and there is nothing on the menu indicating this unpleasant surprise.

The kraut was served room temperature and really had lost the crisp, fresh deliciousness that I love about Alexander Valley sauerkraut. This was NOT a good representation of it.

The potato salad was ok … some onions and maybe parsley in it. It wasn’t mushy.

There was no draft beer. They don’t make their own lemonade. The iced tea was ok.

I tried a little of the three barbeque sauces. They all tasted very similar and none of them wowed me.

I have rarely seen a restaurant so misuse top-quality ingredients.

Average, hhc? You were lucky.

3900 D Bel Aire Plaza, Napa, CA 94558

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