étoile Restaurant is the restaurant located at the Domain Chandon Winery in foodie capital Yountville, just to the left of Highway 29. (Etoile is French for “star”) They received one Michelin star in 2010 and serve French food that is the focus with “daily collaboration between the culinary team and Domaine Chandon’s winemakers, resulting in innovative, wine-inspired cuisine.” Chef Perry Hoffman was named a 2010 Rising Star Chef in the San Francisco Chronicle. We haven’t been to Domain Chandon in a long time and decided to give them a try as recent reviews have been positive.
Decor, Vibe – Domain Chandon is a beautiful winery with fountains, ponds, sculpture garden, vast lawns, and rolling vineyards. étoile Restaurant has a dining room inside as well as a large patio. It looks like the interior hasn’t changed in many years. With the weather so nice, it was almost mandatory to eat outside. The patio was mostly filled and when shaded with trees and umbrellas, while the landscape provided a very tranquil scene with the song of birds chirping. The interior dining room was pretty empty. Patrons included typical wine country tourists with a lot of couples.
Seasonally Changing Menu has 6 appetizers and 7 entrees with an some vegetarian options. Excellent value $50 3 course Lunch Tasting menu with a glass of wine.
Signature Dishes – Sparkling wine, charcuterie, tasting menu.
House Charcuterie Italian sausage · nostrano salami · pâte foie blond · terrine of saucisson ($30) was excellent. This huge plate full of house made meats was huge and served with a thinly sliced, quality, toasted bread. Order this to share with several people. The highlights were the very smooth pâté, and the delicate prosciutto. The pickled vegetables were fair. Yellowjackets were attracted to the meat, so eat quickly. This dish reminds us of top notch Charcuterie at Village Pub.
Taste of Summer three-course lunch and a glass of wine ($50) was an excellent deal considering the wine itself would cost over $10.
Hamachi Sashimi – delta asparagus · fiddlehead ferns · avocado tartare had three big chunks of fresh raw fish along with some edible plants and flowers from their garden. A bite brings the wonderful combination of flavors together, with the bread substituting for sushi rice.
Seared Dayboat Scallops – sunchokes · ramps · stewed kumquats · spring legumes have three large beautiful scallops on a luscious green bed of peas, beans, favas, and snow peas. One of the scallops was a bit chewy, while the other two were fine.
Strawberry Cream Pie fresh chèvre ice cream · tondo balsamic was a beautiful desert consisting of strawberries and crème fraîche housed in a pastry shell and top with the crème brûlée style crust. Excellent dessert with a very nice crust and a smooth combination of flavors. The high-quality balsamic vinegar added a nice touch.
Poached Shrimp Salad garden greens · hearts of palm · preserved Meyer lemon · sorrel sauce ($12) was an average dish. The shrimp were super freshmen have strong flavors, but the salad was a bit on the bland side.
Service – étoile Restaurant had competent but laid-back service. It is clear this place takes a leisurely approach to dining. There were long lulls while the servers were busy doing organizational tasks. We were never asked about refills.
Value – The lunch tasting menu is an excellent deal.
Verdict – étoile Restaurant is a solid restaurant in a tranquil and beautiful setting. We can’t remember the last time we dined in such a quiet restaurant. Etoile fits right into the wine country and helps you relax while enjoying quality food. If you can’t get a reservation at the usual spots, give this place a try.
Good wine selection with high markup. Of course many Domain Chandon entries! 32 page list, glasses from $9, bottles from $35.