1314 McKinstry St
Napa, CA 94559
Why did we dine here? – La Toque (it means Chef’s Hat in French) is a French restaurant in Napa’s Westin Verasa Hotel. It has One Michelin Star, so we have always been wanting to come here. We finally got a chance in the middle of 2013. There are just so many good restaurants in the Napa Valley. The chef is Ken Frank, who focuses on local, seasonal ingredients. The restaurant got its start in Los Angeles and moved up here several years ago.
Insider Tip – This is actually a fairly easy place to get a reservation.
Cuisine – French
Location – Downtown Napa
Opened – 1980
Service – La Toque should have had better service. The waiter was friendly, but was not very present nor did he ever ask how the food was. There were long pauses in pacing. This isn’t Michelin Star quality service. The restaurant was 50% full.
Verdict – Did La Toque live up to its reputation with its Michelin Star? We had lunch at Redd, which also has one Michelin star. They are far more consistent with food and service.
Is it one of the better restaurants in downtown Napa? There were some glimmers of hope with many dishes, others were glitched. If you are staying at this hotel, it is pretty convenient to dine here, otherwise this restaurant is ok, but there are better bets nearby. They automatically charge 18% gratuity.
Nearby foodie restaurants include Morimoto, Oenotri.
La Toque Signature Dishes – All Black Truffle Menu in January and February. Foie Gras.
La Toque’s Menu allows you to pick 3 plus dessert $74 or 4 plus dessert $90 courses from a selection of 17 different items. They also have a tasting menu as well as wine pairings.
La Toque Food Picks:
Amuse Bouche of pork rillete
Nice warm basket of bread – excellent bread.
Maine Lobster with Manila Mango, Cucumber Pickled Red Onions and Lemongrass Ginger Vinaigrette – lots of tender and fresh lobster made this a highly recommended salad.
Chilled White Asparagus, Shaved Fennel and Celery Root with Sauce Verte – we took this one from the vegetarian menu. A cold fancy salad that was very beautiful and worked well in combination with the other elements.
Liberty Farm Duck Breast and a Cured Duck Croquette, with Confit of Cêpes and Red Wine Sauce – was an excellent duck cooked to a perfect medium rare.
Sliced Niman Ranch Rib Eye with Fiscalini Cheddar Pearl Tapioca and Rutherford Red Wine Sauce – three reasonably sized pieces of tender steak cooked to a perfect mediumm rare. Nice, slightly creamy tapioca.
Bittersweet Chocolate Truffle Cake, Bing Cherry Cream, Shaved Toasted Almond Ice and a Chocolate Cherry Almond wafer – a large dessert with very dark chocolate and a interesting spiked pudding.
Raspberry Souffle Glace with Hibiscus Nuage and Jasmine Tea Shortbread – a frozen dessert that was slighly fruity. Also pretty large in size which was surprising, with the smaller entrees.
Petit Fours of Chocolates, Palmiers, and Pate de Feuille.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Ricotta Espelette Pepper Ravioli with Butter Beans and Wilted Chicories – the pepper was too overwhelming.
Veal Tenderloin with Morels, Ramps and Potato Mousseline – way too salty, but clearly he knows how to cook veal.
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)