Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Auberge du Soleil - Napa Valley

Introduction: There are many rave reviews about this rather isolated one Michelin star restaurant on Rutherford Hill Road. The Auberge also provides accommodation for the well heeled.
The entrance to the restaurant is through narrow double doors leading into a large architecturally auberge style room with a large central fireplace.
The well spaced tables with patterned linen cloths and serviettes are big enough to comfortably accommodate the food and drink.
Ambiance: Laid back sophistication
Service: Always available without being pushy or oppressive
Bradley Wasserman, the assistant food manager was particularly helpful
Food: We enjoyed an exquisite meal made with the finest ingredients and generally presented in pleasing combinations.

We had the four course $90 dinner which consisted of a choice of one of four first courses, second courses main courses and desserts
Before the meal chef Robert Curry sent us a amuse bouche - a delicate crab cake and a bite of Atlantic salmon
Between us we tried quite a few of their range including the roast chestnut soup, truffle cream, brioche, pate foie blond which produced a delicious blend of taste though the texture of the soup may have been improved if it had not been so totally homogenised.

The poached Maine lobster, half a tail, avocado, mango, vanilla, watercress was sweet and tender however the slightly peppery watercress provided a somewhat sharp contrast.
The second course Meyer lemon risotto, Nantucket Bay scallops, Bloomsdale spinach was cooked to perfection the delicate scallops quite excellent
The Atlantic cod, fennel puree piperade, black olive jus was a superbly produced the fish contrasting with the jus.
The seared tuna, hearts of palm, glazed pork belly, quail egg another most enjoyable dish with marked contrasts in taste.

The chef sent us a palate cleanser of pineapple ice cream and sago pearls before the next course

For mains we had the Liberty farm duck, persimmon stuffing, baby carrots, pomegranate sauce. The medium rare breast was wonderfully tender and retained succulent juices and went well with the stuffing.
I dipped my finger into the jus before this picture!
We had a side dish of excellently prepared spinach.A complimentary cheese selection from the left: Accapella: goat milk from Sonoma, Bergase Heublumen cows milk from Switzerland, and three French cheeses a Pyrennes Brebis sheeps milk, and two more cows milk a Fourme D'Ambert and a Sourmaintain which was running off the plate.
Finally the desserts and coffee

Warm vanilla scented chiboust, Mandarin oranges, traditional shortbread

Brown sugar roasted black Arkansas apples, cream cheese, red flame raisins caraway ice cream

and petit fours

Wine: We had a slightly acidic 2006 Stags Leap Voignier $46
Price Perhaps expensive by American standards about US$130/head including service charges
Comments A fine meal with great attention to detail they even provided me a loan of magnifiers as I had trouble reading the menu in the muted light! Not your usual takeaway restaurant but it seems they are used to people not finishing their meals!!

Score: 17-5/20

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As an employee of Auberge du Soleil Restaurant I would like to thank you for your beautiful pictures, and wonderful description of your experience with us! I remember you, and was one working that evening to assist in bringing to you, what I hoped, was a memorable experience. Your blog and pictures are astounding, and I can only thank you for sharing your experience with the world!