We used to dine every few months at The Restaurant at Meadowood in the early 2000s when we wanted good, casual, reasonably-priced Napa Valley food and ambiance. This entire concept went on it's head when Chef Christopher Kostow was hired away from the 2-Michelin Starred Chez TJ in Mountain View, CA.
Our friend, with a little help from us, obtained a position growing vegetables at the Montesori Garden for The Restaurant at Meadowood, 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena, CA. Meadowood and it's chef Christopher Kostow earned the second 3-Michelin Star restaurant rating for the Napa Valley (Thomas Keller's The French Laundry being the first). Naturally, we wanted to experience some of what was grown (from time-to-time we'd volunteer a little hand in the garden) and determined that our upcoming wedding anniversary would be a great time to go.
We were so pleased Ad Hoc Restaurant's chef Cruz and Meadowood's gardener agreed to join us. The dinner was most memorable because of the company of these hardworking, soft-spoken and determined people.
The restaurant treated us to Billecart-Salmon Brute Rose Champagne to start. We were seated on the patio over looking an expanse of grass in the mild evening.
Amuse bouche starter
Garden vegetables with dipping "soil"
Beet and carrot amuse bouche
*** Wonderful taste: whipped yogurt, pickled plum with black sesame and shiso leaves
Cherry tomato clam lovage
Spot prawn, lily and caviar with individual sourdough bread roll
Garden cucumber, sesame seed, borage
Peter Michael "Ma Belle Fille" Chardonnay
Abalone, lobster, mushroom, succulents with individual bread
Trout, forgotten herbs, beet and peaches
*** Bouillon of roasted meats (palate cleanser)
*** Goat, cumin, buttermilk eggplant with pumpernickel rolls
When asked, I gathered some (non-poisoned) garden snails at 6:00am a month earlier, 35 of them. My friend the gardener at 4:30am picked up over 400 snails, which eventually helped to create the following dish:
Cote de boeuf, snails and chanterelles. It is interesting to note the restaurant/chef's relationship
to the potter who creates many of the dishes upon which the food arrives.
*** Pretzel mimolette with summer peppers
Lime palate cleanser
Lemon cream with currants
Chef Cruz's gift of 2000 Dom Perignon Champagne
German chocolate cake (white chocolate coming out of the coconut shell)
Stages of the grape
The meal is obviously not something one wants to do every day. Surprisingly, the food wasn't the star of the show; the company was . . . the food was an amazing compliment to the fun company.
Would I do it again? Yes, especially for their treat known as "The Twelve Days of Christmas," when they feature a different chef and winery for 12 nights in December.
Truly, I believe Chef Kostow, purposefully or not, is showing us the future of fine dining (at the point if & when the modern world looses it's infrastructure, and we've poisoned the land and water). This is how we will eat well: using sustainably harvested fruits, vegetables and animal products; served on hand-crafted dishes.