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Restaurants & Bars 9

Napa Rose first visit

john gonza;es | Apr 14, 200412:57 AM

So we made the tip to Napa Rose to meet some friends from O.C.. I don't find myself looking for a spot in that area often as it's just too far from WLA.
Anyhow, very light traffic got us door to door in 55 minutes. It's in the Grand Californian at Disney and a bonus is the validated (no fee) valet parking for 4 hours. It was also nice to walk around next door at Downtown Disney prior to eating.
The restaurant itself is well appointed. The tables are large, well spaced, and the chairs comfortable. The decor is new Arts & Crafts done pretty well, certainly not theme park cheesy.
The service was pretty good. Very attentive and professional for the most part. Though despite a less than full house, there were a few times when we were waiting for the waiter or busboys. I had heard of the excellent wine training of much of the staff. Surprisingly I thought the wine service was below par. Out of the first wine I ordered, brought the wrong wine the second time, forgot to decant a wine after asked, and didn't know the wines on the list very well. The prices on the winelist were just above average. They are generous in waiving the $17 corkage on a bottle when one is purchased off the list.
To the food. We all kind of had tastes of everyone's everything. I didn't like the salad of pulled duck meeat with greens, but am just not into cold duck. My wife said it was decent. The marinated beet salad ($8) was better and quite good. The mushroom ravioli ($12) were just average, kind of lacking the shroom richness I expected. The foie gras ($18) was good, though it almost always is. It was asmall portion, which would be fine solo, but went fast when a few others tried it. It was served over what seemed like a potato cake that was too mushy. either the sauce or the fruit needed to be a bit more acidic as a balancer. The lobster cocktail was lobster meat, chunks of avo, and some mango salsa. Pretty tasty, just not surpassing the sum of its parts.
We were having a big cab so all had either the short ribs or the lamb shank, both braised, around $26. Both were very good. The lamb shank perhaps better. Fall off the bone tender. The short rib was just a bit fattier than recent excellent versions at Josie and Little Door. Both dishes lacked tasty accompaniments. There was some sort of diced potato with each that was similar and just not great.
Desserts were actually the highlight. One was a creme brulee tart, the second a citrus cheesecake, and the best a pate of Scarffenberger chocolate that had incredible chocolate flavor and texture. All were $9.

All in all it was a very good meal. It just fell short of excellence. To me, not on par with the better places in L.A. proper. FWIW, it was very similar to the food at the Chef's (Sutton) last stop Auberge du Soleil. It was not exhorbitant at $280 for five before cocktails,wine, & tip. It's a fun place to go, given the surroundings, and worth the occasional visit.

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