Main street in Napa has become a major mecca for Bay Area foodies.  Gail loves Angele, we’re both crazy about Morimoto, Le Toque is trying to become another French Laundry or Manresa and now Torc has joined the passing parade as a big time player.

Located where the ultra-upscale vegetarian Ubuntu met its earthly demise, Torc celebrates all the proper buzz words of local, artisinal, organic, slow food culinary hipitude.  That’s standard today–what is important is that they do it really, really well.

We had to start with a couple of appetizers.  The deviled eggs were particularly appealing.

Green eggs and ham, ad Dr. Seuss never imagined.

Green eggs and ham, ad Dr. Seuss never imagined.

One of the big attractions of Torc is the foie gras.  Animal rights do-gooders got the heavenly goose liver banned in California, and it has just recently been returned to menus. My cardiologist won’t approve of the high fat treat, but I’ll die happy.

Sauteed foie gras and huckleberries.

Sauteed foie gras and huckleberries.

The foie gras was excellent.  Our state attorney general is going to court to try to get the ban reinstated, because we need more nanny-state rules. I may have to vote for her for the Senate just to keep her out of the AG’s office.

Gail had the tagliatelle, topped with the Perigord truffles.  Chef Sean O’Toole personally comes out of the kitchen to shave the 5 gram portion over the pasta. I asked him how he knew we had received the proper amount, and he said he has a scale in the kitchen.  He even came back out, saying he had only given Gail 4.5 grams, and added a few shaves to bring the total up.

Tagliatelle with shaved truffles

Tagliatelle with shaved truffles

It was a topsy-turvy night because I’m usually the one to order the pasta, and Gail is a big fan of short ribs. So this is what I had:

Very slowly cooked short rib.  That's  rutabaga in the back.

Very slowly cooked short rib. That’s rutabaga and brussels sprouts in the back.

A boneless slab of short rib, cooked so perfectly no knife was needed. Flavor infused all the way through, a beautiful glaze on top.  The accompanying rutabaga surprised me, tasting like sweet potato or butternut squash. Maybe I have a negative opinion of this vegetable without enough experience.

We had a side order of the purple potatoes.  It’s hard to believe that just spuds can looks so picture perfect:

Potatoes, bacon, scallions and creme fraiche

Potatoes, bacon, scallions and creme fraiche

We had to have dessert, of course.  Gail and  I had a couple of very good cheeses and a glass of vintage port, while Sigrid opted for the dark chocolate Marquise.

Dark chocolate, hazelnuts, lace crisp and salted caramel ice cream.

Dark chocolate, hazelnuts, lace crisp and salted caramel ice cream.


Chef O’Toole is from Ireland, and the name Torc is Gaelic for wild boar.  So why isn’t there any boar on the menu?

The service is completely first rate.  The staff is well trained, and there are enough of them to keep everything moving. All our dishes came out at once, the way it should be. I just can’t find anything to cavil about.  Prices are in line with the quality of the food and service.  I don’t know enough to comment on the quality of the wine list in general, but the dessert wine selection was outstanding.  Torc is a fine reason to make the little trip up to Napa for a special meal.

Torc on Urbanspoon


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