Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Auberge du Soleil (St Helena)

February 2013

180 Rutherford Hill, Rutherford, Napa Valley, USA
Tel: +1 707 963 1211

The best views of Napa Valley from a restaurant are probably at Auberge du Soleil. Perched on the hillside of Rutherford, the outdoor deck-seating of the one Michelin star restaurant overlooks the lush valleys of the area. We had lunch there on a cool and sunny day, which was perfect for enjoying the spectacular scenery. The restaurant is part of a luxury resort of the same name, and from the moment we dropped off our car with the very professional valet at the entrance of the resort, and then throughout our meal there, it was clear to us that this was a top-notch establishment with service levels appropriate for the well-heeled.

We were there for lunch so we had a relatively short lunch menu to select our meal from. In addition, we chose to have the local Chardonnay by the glass.

Potato gnocchi, wild mushroom, pea shoots and parmesan nave: This was a wonderful winter dish for lunch.

Poached hopper shrimp, butter lettuce, avocado and navel orange: The shrimps were fresh and sweet, but I felt that the citrus flavour of the orange overpowered the rest of the dish somewhat.

Veal and lobster sandwich, brioche, prosciutto and pickled vegetables: This was a great sandwich, full of juicy lobster packed between sweet brioche bread.

Panfried snapper: I enjoyed the snapper as well, especially the way the skin was fried to a crisp yet the flesh remained quite tender and moist.

Coconut angelfood cake, sweet coconut cream, mandarin sorbet and lime: To end off a rather relaxing and light lunch, the coconut angelfood cake was the perfect dessert.

Impressions: The food was good but this was overshadowed by the great views from the veranda. This was a wonderful place for a slow lunch; to kick back one's heels, enjoy the fresh air, and have a glass of wine.

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