Sunday, June 19
San Fran / Napa Round-Up
SF/Napa's sheer number of restaurants in a very short timeframe is what prevented me from writing them up before, so here's the quick and dirty:
Fleur De Lys: *****
Fleur De Lys, Hubert Keller's masterpiece, is probably the best restaurant I've ever been to. The ambiance, the service, the food... Amazing. Wagyu beef and duck we had was perfect, and desert was heavenly - from fleur burger 3000 to souffle to strawberry mouse to petit fours... Perfection.
Gary Danko: **
Gary Danko, San Fran's supposedly #1 restaurant, was frankly a disappointment. The space is incredibly cramped - you can tell they're trying to fit as many tables as possible. Service is quite discriminating - if you're young, prepare to be overlooked. The cool menu feature is that you can order anything as a main or an appetizer, but that doesn't make up for the fact that they used butter lettuce in a salad. Butter lettuce! Conclusion: if you want to be seen, go to Gary Danko. If you want great service and you're on the younger side, take your business elsewhere.
Sanraku : ***
Sanraku is a nice basic sushi restaurant, whose best feature is that it's close to everything. The interior is a bit bare, but the sushi is good and reasonably priced, which is what matters. I also like the fact that the menu is more on the classic side - I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to sushi.
Celadon is a centrally located restaurant in Napa (then again, what isn't centrally located in Napa?). Its partially closed in patio is great, and the food is really good. It seems like most nice restaurants in Napa Valley are located in Yountville, and if you're staying in Napa, it's nice to have the reasonably priced option of Celadon.
Napa Valley Wine Train: ****
I highly recommend the wine train - the food is decent, but what really matters is the beautiful views you get. Plus when else do you get to have a multi-course meal on the train? It seems like something out of a James Bond movie or an Agatha Christie novel. A wine train lunch is a great way to spend the afternoon.
Bottega is Michael Chiarello's massive establishment in Yountville. It almost feels like an Earl's due to sheer size and younger waiters, but the food is definitely elevated. Wine list is extensive, including some of Chiarello's own wines. We loved eating outside, and the goat cheese panna cotta was to die for! To sum up, the food is great, but you might want something that feels a bit less mass market depending on your personal preferences.
A bunch of great experiences, and next time we're in the area, we're getting those reservations at French Laundry, and definitely trying Michael Mina. Can't wait!