n.v. (too cool for capitals) opened a couple of months ago on First St. in the old Bombay Bistro spot in the building with Mervyns. Despite the location, n.v. has a hipster vibe, well, more than any other place in Napa, techno music, fun circular couch in the bar.
We had dinner a few Fridays ago which started with a little tuna tartare amuse bouche nicely flavored with lime zest. I had black bass - two small pieces cooked just right, stacked on a round of delicata squash that was filled with large couscous. All was surrounded by a blood orange reduction that was too sweet for the fish, over-powered it, but was just perfect with the earthiness of the squash.
My husband had scallops (4) with cauliflower puree, lemon beurre blanc and chanterelle mushfooms, which we both liked very much. We drank a 2002 pinot blanc from Alsace.
Dessert: chocolate cake with crème fraiche ice cream (tangy, creamy and wonderful) and 3 mandarin sections. Then came complimentary tiny cookies and chocolates.
The portions were a bit austere, even for me who is usually complaining about too-large portions, but I would definitely return for the food. Local paper had reported that n.v. was aiming to be a reasonably priced place locals would love. It is not that. It is a great place for feeling like you are in the city even though you are really in downtown Napa next to Mervyns.