3 charming Michelin stars at The Restaurant – Meadowood
When we couldn’t get a reservation at the French Laundry, we decided to give the other three Michelin restaurant in Napa Valley a try. I wasn’t too sure what’s to expect going into The Restaurant with their vegetable-focused menu at the wooded, sprawling Meadowood resort. With an open mind, we headed through the heavy wooden doors into the naturally lit dining room to begin with an entire series of amuse bouches.
Even on the side was a touch of nature with unique blooms from the garden that calls for attention between courses.
Instead of wine pairings (since we had been wine tasting all day), we opted for The Restaurant’s notorious cocktails. Each sip was a burst of sweet berries – like biting into ripe fruit with a kick at the end.
Then the actual courses began, each stunning us with intricacy and blooming flavors that I had not expected at all from vegetables.
Believe it or not, The Restaurant has a position called the forager, someone who goes around in the mornings to collect costal grasses from around the Bay Area. And these grasses get sprinkled on some of the dishes.
Course #3: Onion seed crackers
Normally at three Michelin star restaurants, the ambience gets a bit more stuffy than intended, with men in suits and ties while women are practically exhibits themselves in cocktail dresses or gowns. At The Restaurant, though, the ambience and attire is more relaxed, allowing customers to focus on enjoying themselves rather than worrying about appearances. But remember, t-shirts, shorts and ripped jeans are just never going to be appropriate in these settings.
The sprawling garden in the Meadowood resort that grows most of the vegetables and fruits served at The Restaurant is really augments the dining experience. It's a pleasure to have such a meal with most ingredients sourced straight from the Napa Valley community.
Everything served was the essence of fine dining; yet, each dish had an earthy feel to it that connected us with the nature that surrounded us. The meal really was a beautiful display of the region, the handiwork and the flavor profiling that goes on behind the scenes.
- Make reservations early, but the reservations are not as difficult to get as French Laundry's.
- If you are interested, ask to take a look in their state of the art kitchen! We even got to chat with Sous Chef John Hong!
- There is free parking on the premise.
- If you arrive early, take a walk around the resort - it is gorgeous!