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Restaurants & Bars 10

Ubuntu Napa--Mixed Feelings

nuttie_cat | Mar 10, 200811:52 AM

Being vegetarian, I couldn't wait to go to Ubuntu and three of us (me, Mr. Cat and a friend) made it to Ubuntu on Saturday night. We had a 9 p.m. reservation.

We got there early (around 7 p.m.) and checked with them to see if they had anything available earlier. They didn't and offered us seats at the community table so we preferred to wait. At 8 p.m. we decided to get some drinks at the bar and wait for our table.

I got a glass of the made to order fresh lemonade. Mr. cat and the friend got a glass of wine each, which they said was excellent. The lemonade was a huge disappointment. It was sour as hell and tasted like drinking raw lemon juice. After a few sips I couldn't handle the tartness and added some sugar to it but it didn't get any better. I gave up about a fourth into it.

At 9.05 p.m. we were seated. We got some bread and butter, which was nice. When I asked if Ubuntu makes its own butter, our waitress said no. She said it came out of a package though she couldn't remember where from.

Here's what we ordered

---Fried sunchokes with romenesco sauce. It was fabulous. I have never had sunchokes before and it was wonderful bite sized pieces, perfectly fried.

--Chickpeas with Manchego and pepper quenelles. This was a disappointment. I wasn't expecting the chickpeas to be cold. And there was very little machego--three small shavings. The mint-olive oil vinaigrette didn't really enhance the flavors though the red pepper quenelles were good.

--Cauliflower in cast iron pot: Excellent. It lives up to its billing.

--Carta da Musica with truffled pecorino. This was great. Fresh greens, soft wonderful pecorino on a really crisp base.

--Wild Nettle pizza: This is was just average. A little on the salty side.

And finally the bergamot and white chocolate parfait with seasonal citrus for desert. This was fabulous. One of the best deserts I have had. Great tarragon flavor in it and wonderfully constructed.

Overall, it was a good meal. But I left with mixed feelings, because of the bad lemonade, chickpeas dish and the pizza. The service was good, but nothing to write home about.

Ubuntu was a very interesting meal but I am not sure about being one of the top ten restaurants in the country. For me, it was disappointing because I had expected a lot more. Maybe it was an off night, maybe they were swamped... maybe I had too high expectations.

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