The Restaurant at Meadowood Restaurant Review, St. Helena
Posted by Foodnut.com
The Restaurant at Meadowood is the other 3 Michelin Star restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area. Everybody knows about French Laundry. This restaurant has long been at the top of our Must Visit list. We finally found a good excuse, a special occasion nonetheless, so we blocked off an evening to drive up to this lovely location.
Why did we dine here? – Because it has 3 Michelin Stars!
Summary – The Restaurant at Meadowood should definitely be on every foodies must visit list. The food is cutting edge and the service is some of the best around. The Chef likes to keep it local, with a lot of items coming from the property itself.
Insider Tip – If you have $500 to drop, consider the Chef’s Counter. Spending the night here or some place nearby is highly recommended.
Cuisine – California cuisine
Chef – Christopher Kostow (Chez TJ)
Location – St. Helena, Napa Valley
Opened – 2007 (Chef started)
Decor, Vibe – The Restaurant at Meadowood has a modern decor, frankly nicer than French Laundry. This restaurant has a farm house feel with a beautiful view of the meadow outside. They use some nuvo ceramics tableware.
The Restaurant at Meadowood Menu
The Restaurant at Meadowood’s Menu does not really exist. The Chef creates each evening’s meal based on what is fresh at the given time. This is truly omakase. The normal Chef’s tasting menu consists of 9 or 10 courses. At the end of the meal, you receive an overview of what you have eaten. You can opt for the 20 course $500 menu (including tax and gratuity), if you are well heeled. It comes with many more courses (veal, Chicken?) and has gotten good reviews.
Signature Dishes – None, as the menu changes often.
Mojito – A special blend of infused liquor and ginger beer was imaginative and well done.
Pillow on a Pillow – filled with feta, these little cheesy and crispy delights were a good start.
Tomato, Basil, Burrata – a beautiful round amuse combining crisp and airy textures with a dried out bottom.
Carrot Cake – very young carrots, clearly freshly picked with lots of creamy dip below that was hard to access
Whipped house made yogurt black sesame pickled plum, fresh shiso – tart yogurt with crunchy bits in every scoop. Interesting shiso moss topping.
Corn pudding brown butter huitlacoche – one of our favorite dishes, a cereal like four way corn dish with fun “leaves” sticking out. Lots of vivid corn flavors.
Cherry tomatoes from their garden, tomato crisp, clam lovage – tomato sorbet was pretty savory, two small slices of grilled geoduck were pretty tender. Served with a warm potato bread.
Spot prawn lily osetra caviar – a beautiful dish, with a camouflaged prawn along with a bunch of local garden day lily parts. The caviar added a savory element. This dish was a contrast in flavors and textures.
Garden cucumber sesame seed borage – nearby madrone leaves were used to roast this dish. A nice warm dish with subtle flavors along with a bed of tahini or smoked sesame puree. Gluten free warm roll was excellent.
Rainbow Trout forgotten herbs beet peaches – a two bite piece of fish with some interesting spices. This could have been twice as big.
Alternate: Monterey Bay abalone lobster mushrooms succulents from their garden- with an hot abalone dashi broth. Nice and tender with the broth really helping the dish achieve some flavor.
Risotto of sunflower seeds was chunky, savory, and came with an interesting house made pumpernickel bread.
Cote de boeuf (like a ribeye) snails chanterelles, watercress, garlic – the Chef raved about this dish. The beef is poached and then roasted. It should have been a lot thicker. Very rare, thin, chewy, some artistic beef.
Goats milk cheese panalay garden melon chicory – a rich smooth cheese dish. Frankly one of the weaker dishes of the evening. Panalay bread rounded out this dish.
Lemon cream currants – a thick pudding with lemon cream and sugar that was slightly sweet and warm topped off with some flavor boosting currants, and Marigold petals.
Garden apple (from K&J Orchards) hoja santa (root beer leaf) rose – a creamy, cold dense center with root beer like flavors along with some fruity essence. Bitter almond yogurt sauce with goat cheese, rose hips snow.
Stages of the grape – four different mignardises including a grape leaf wrapped in white chocolate, ganache, and a eggless sugar based meringue.
You are present with a menu of your customized dinner at the end of the meal. Be sure to ask for a tour of the beautiful kitchen that was remodeled and expanded earlier this year.
Service – The Restaurant at Meadowood is expected to have top notch service. Boy, the service here is some of the best around. All your needs should accounted for and anticipated. The entire table was served with synchronicity, napkins were replaced when you got up. There were a couple of glitches that should be fixed though. The servers were warm and friendly. The Chef came out several times and greeted us on a kitchen tour.
Value – The Restaurant at Meadowood is not cheap. At this price we expect French Laundry level food and service.
Alternatives – Restaurants similar to The Restaurant at Meadowood include nearby French Laundry of course. If you are on a budget, dine at nearby Redd in Yountville. If you are looking for an awesome view, try nearby Auberge du Soleil.
Verdict – How does The Restaurant at Meadowood compare to French Laundry? This is one question everybody asks. We would rank this restaurant as one that serves different cuisine. The food here is very modern, some people who dine here may feel that this restaurant doesn’t serve anything familiar. The meal almost feels like a bunch of Amuse Bouches strung together. Portion size is also on the low side, we left here barely feeling full. They need to increase the size of several dishes including Cote de boeuf. A similar beef dish at French Laundry was probably five times as large.
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