Another winner in Napa
Napa isn’t a very big place, but they have an incredible number of absolutely first rate restaurants. I love Morimoto, and Torq, and Angele, three of the finest dining establishments around and all within a couple of blocks on Main Street. Now I have to add one more to that powerhouse trinity, Celadon.
Celadon is a color for a pottery glaze, but Google then shows me swatches that are pale blue, pale green and light gray–maybe there is something even Google cannot be certain about. I may not know exactly what shade Celadon is, but I know good food and service when I see them.
We ate in the outdoor/indoor half of the restaurant. There is a beautiful formal dining area, but I so much prefer the sense of being outside with the high roof, translucent ceiling and open sides. There are fans for the heat and heaters for the cold–Gail and I are looking forward to coming here when it is pouring rain and hearing it on the roof.
While Gail had her customary Caesar salad, Sigrid and I split the duck confit spinach salad–spinach, duck slow cooked in its own fat (the “confit” part) and dates. It was superb.
The menu has more meat and less fish than I have come to expect in California, which looks like a tourist orientation. All three of us chose from the specials of the day. I had what they called lamb T-bones, which sure look like rib chops to me. Maybe they’re the same thing. In any case, they were excellent.
Years ago, Gail ordered a dish with two small filets. One was Kobe beef, one was Argentine beef. The Kobe was insanely tender, but didn’t have a great deal of flavor. The Argentine was not at all tender, bordering on tough, but immensely flavorful. Celadon serves whatever the Argentine version of lamb chops is–tender they were not, but Wow! what flavor.
The lamb was accompanied by spaetzle, spinach and chantarelles, served on a savory jus. Topping the plate were two perfect onion rings. I was a happy man.
Gail and Sigrid both had the petrale sole.
You can prepare pretty much anything with butter, lemon and capers and it will be good. Celadon did a wonderful job with the sole, and both women cleaned their plates.
You know I can’t pass up a bread pudding, so I didn’t.
The bread pudding was a bit heavy on the cinnamon for me, but the creme anglaise with the little hearts won me over. The blackberries and raspberries were perfectly ripe and a marvelous accompaniment
Our server was a delight, and the bus staff kept the ice tea filled, the plates cleared and the wine flowing. We had an interesting discussion about water–the restaurant is watering their many plants with the water customers don’t drink.
The Berkeley gourmet ghetto was no match for Main Street in Napa even before Celadon opened. Now there isn’t even a contest–Napa is the place to go. Celadon has joined the group of the big boys.