Ryan’s Best Blow-Out Dinners
By: Ryan MacDonnell
People often ask me where to go in Napa Valley for over-the-top dinners. Here are five of my favorite places that I always recommend:
* Ad Hoc — Ad Hoc is one of the offspring from famed chef Thomas Keller (French Laundry). I love it because, while the food is as amazing as you’d expect from Thomas, the whole vibe of the place feels more like a locals hang-out. The menu changes daily based on what’s in the garden and the whim of the chef, so check their website to make sure you like what they’re serving. I like to get the “supplement” too, which is a little something extra they offer along with the meal, and always worth it. Their cheese plate is divine.
* Redd — Redd is one of my favorite date night places, and I always start the evening off at the bar with a Jalisco Mule. Another must for me at Redd is their Sashimi of Hamachi.
* Bouchon — Bouchon is one of my favorite special occasion places; champagne and oysters just spell celebration to me. Erik Johnson is the sommellier and he always knows what to recommend. If I feel like a big splurge, I get the duck confit.
* Press— Press makes an impression from the moment you walk in the door; designer Howard Backen created a space that somehow epitomizes the fresh, wide-open feel of Napa Valley. It feels good just to be there … and that’s before you even get to the food! I love their burgers and the filet au poivre (their side dishes are amazing too), but you really can’t go wrong no matter what you order. Kelli White and Scott Brenner are the sommelliers and they have an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge of Napa Valley wines, so ask them anything you like. And don’t leave without ordering the chocolate souffle!
* The Chef’s Table at Meadowood — The Chef’s table at Meadowood is truly a once in a lifetime experience. You sit at a “counter” in the kitchen and watch chef Christopher Kostow and his team turn out true works of art. It’s a tasting menu like no other. I think I lost count at twenty courses. It’s no wonder he earned a third Michelin star in 2012.
Enjoy your time in Napa!