Restaurants & Bars 16

Underwhelmed by Napa & Co (Stamford, CT)

mla19 | Feb 19, 201205:08 AM

I'm a bit surprised to find pretty much unanimous love for this restaurant on Chowhound, Yelp, etc. My husband and I ate there for the first time last night and the overall experience was very disappointing.

The food was definitely good, but not particularly great. With the exception of the chorizo, tomato, farm egg crostini small plate, which was quite special, everything else we ate was just "good" (We tried the kale salad and veal meatballs to start, and the pork chop and skate (upon recommendation by our waiter) as entrees).

The ambiance at the restaurant is very casual - reminiscent of a sports bar more than a fine dining restaurant. There was a TV playing Food Network shows in the livelier of the two dining rooms! And the rooms felt tired and in need of an update. Unfortunately, our service matched the atmosphere. It took a long time for our waiter to approach us, and to later check on us. And when we asked him for recommendations off the menu, he gave a bumbling response.

And though my husband and I are no connoisseurs of wine, we were disappointed with the three glasses we tried, though Napa bills itself as having a strong wine program.

The real problem with our meal is that the prices at Napa & Co are astronomical. I'm talking entrees pretty much across the board in the $30-50 range, and starters lingering around $20. The food, ambiance and service just didn't come CLOSE to warranting those prices. If the prices were dropped a tad, then I can forgive lackluster service and my expectations for the food would be lowered. I probably would've enjoyed Napa at a different price point. But charging the prices that they do, I'm going to expect an experience similar to some of the best restaurants in New York City. And Napa failed miserably in that comparison.

I want to mention that we also tried the Whelk in Westport this week and that, along with Bill's other restaurant LeFarm and the Lamb's Harvest Supper in New Canaan, blow Napa out of the water - - and at half the price!

It's hard to believe Napa is so universally loved. I urge readers to try one of the restaurants mentioned above instead for a much better and less expensive fine dining meal. And if you have a hankering to drop the kind of cash required by Napa, drive another 40 miles to Manhattan.

ETA: I realize that Napa was responsible for beginning a culinary revolution in our area and that wonderful chefs like Mr. Taibe got their start there. Perhaps it was stellar in its heyday long before I got to try it, but today, I believe there are far better options.

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