My parents were visiting so the five of us (parents, brother, me, my bf) went to Napa Valley on Saturday and had dinner at Tra Vigne. This was the first time we've been to this restaurant and I just wanted to write up our impressions.
We had 6.15pm reservations but were seated about half hour late. However, the staff was very friendly to us during this time and gave us lots of updates on the status of our table. We were finally seated at a nice round corner table by the window. The restaurant is a bit louder and noisier than what I expected, and the inside is not as pretty as the very cute outside courtyard, but it was fine. The menu was about 80% the same as what's posted online for the March sample menu. We shared most of the dishes.
* Green Garlic soup: Honestly this didn't taste much like garlic to me, which is a disappointment since I've a huge garlic fan. It had a chicken stock base and was thickened with some sort of starch (the waiter mentioned they didn't use cream), but I didn't think this dish was anything special.
* Caesar salad: Nicely presented but a bit too light and boring for my taste
* Appetizer-sized portion of the day's risotto, which was risotto with spring vegetables and halibut on top: I really like how you can get a smaller order of any of the pastas as a starter. This was good but I wouldn't order it again
* Roasted fish of the day, black bass: A whole roasted fish was presented and butterflied tableside, then split into two portions (since my parents were sharing this dish) and some house-made lemon oil was poured over each portion. This was really good, and everyone agreed it was the best dish of the night
* Full portion of the day's risotto: The full portion is only slightly bigger than the appetizer portion, I don't think it's worth the money in comparison, so beware!
* Braised short ribs: The restaurant's signature dish was pretty good, but I don't think it was much better than short ribs I've had elsewhere
* Porterhouse: The gremolata and squeezed-on lemon really added a nice touch to the steak. At first it didn't seem that great, but it got better and better as I ate it and I had no problems finishing the 20 oz portion, even after a day of eating and drinking. I'd order it again
* Puntarella side dish: It was fine but could have really benefitted from some lemon
Service throughout dinner was good, and our waiter was nice though he seemed a bit eccentric. In summary I thought our starters weren't that good but our main dishes made up for it, and I'd recommend (but not strongly) Tra Vigne to others looking for a Wine Country restaurant.
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