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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Epicuryan: The Restaurant at Meadowood

900 Meadowood Ln
St Helena, CA 94574
(707) 967-1205

Maybe its the situation or the rising variety of world-class eating places within the metropolis, however I’ve all the time felt that the Restaurant at Meadowood has been the forgotten son of the Bay Space positive eating scene. Actually Meadowood has lengthy dwelled within the shadow of its extra well-known neighbor to the south, The French Laundry. It speaks volumes that Michelin did not even charge Meadowood when the information first got here to the Bay Space. It wasn’t till the subsequent 12 months that Meadowood bought on the board with a 2 star score that was upgraded to three in 2011. I visited the restaurant again in 2010 and its been on my checklist for an encore ever because it netted star quantity 3. Although full disclosure, I attempted to get a desk at Atelier Crenn, Benu, Manresa, and Saison earlier than wanting in the direction of Meadowood.

subject peas
The tasting menu at Meadowood kicks off with a variety of small bites. First up was a fragile melange of peas stuffed with crunch and recent grassy verve.

squash blossom
The second snack consisted of a fried squash blossom formed right into a crunchy taco shell. The shell is stuffed primarily with pickled pepper on a mattress a squash puree. The mix deftly mimics the savory taste of a standard taco topped with vibrant recent pico de gallo

oyster kohlrabi
The ultimate snack consisted of a fantastically formed Miyagi oyster from Marin County topped with mignonette and kohlrabi. The bivalve opens with a reasonably assertive salinity adopted by a pickled twang and trace of herbaceousness that brings out a melon-y character within the oyster.

daylily soup, caviar, radish
Transferring into the bigger programs we began with a vivid yellow daylily broth topped with a melange of radishes and herbs. The broth unsurprisingly has little taste, as a substitute it’s the astringency of the radish that dominates. The quinelle of California Sturgeon caviar has a targeted salnity by itself, however the remainder of the dish rounds out the tough edges and leaves behind a delicate butteriness.

sunflower pasta, spot prawn
The meal took a markedly heavier flip with this immensely satisfying handmade pasta. The pasta itself is completely al dente and full of a satisfyingly toothsome spot prawn filling. The prawns additionally function prominently within the sauce giving the dish an ethereal salinity and smoky buttery heft tempered by the bitter succulents.

foievocado, chrysanthemum, dill
The subsequent course was an ultra-luxe tackle avocado toast. The creamy perfectly-ripened fruit is stuffed equally creamy foie gras threaded with charred herbs. The herbs are essential right here bringing a smokiness distinction to the richer parts of the dish. The accompanying toast is given equal care and exudes a heady perfume of recent bread and butter. If common avocado toast had been actually this good I might positively be homeless.

halibut, unripe plum
This was most likely essentially the most memorable course of the evening. The halibut is cured, dramatically lowering the water content material and radically altering the looks. The halibut takes on a visually hanging look extra akin to a block of pink Himalayan rock salt than a chunk of white fish. Biting into the fish is an equally enchanting expertise, sumptuously dense texture and an mild even salinity with delicate undertones of umami. The unripened plum provides a slight preserved funk and sweet-sour twang although personally I favored the fish higher with out it.

abalone iridescence
The braised abalone is suffused with a great deal of briny umami and a delightfully tender texture. The slice of abalone is topped with a translucent leaf of wilted bitter greens for distinction and a sauce that brings with somewhat porcine richness with it.

squab tea
Together with a presentation of our squab, we got a whimsical “squab tea” as somewhat intermezzo earlier than the meat programs. The straightforward clear broth was harking back to a potent rooster consomme. The broth helped wash the flavors of the earlier dishes and prime the palate for the programs forward.

squab baked in calistoga clay
The baked squab is completed with a fast sear then spliced and served up with a black cherry glaze and pickled mustard. By itself the skinny slices of breast are splendidly tender slivers of smoke and char. The sauce and dressing carry a good bitter brightness and verdant brightness to the powerfully wealthy chicken.

beef smoked in dry onion tops
The reduce of beef got here from a Wagyu breed raised in Colorado. The meat was smoked with onion and garlic and dressed with a sauce of beef fats, black garlic and completed with a pearly dollop of onion soubise. Imbuing the meat with frequent flavors discovered within the accompaniments deftly highlights the meat’s pure taste and richness with out over complicating issues.

cereal of pinecones, toasted grains, raspberries
Our first dessert was a whimsical play on breakfast utilizing child pinecones to imitate a bowl of cereal with “milk” and berries. The general impact was eerily harking back to a bowl of Fortunate Charms with vibrant recent fruit flavors and a easy comforting enchantment. One of many night’s standouts and simply one of the best dessert I’ve eaten all 12 months.

eggplants foster
The second dessert was a play on the basic bananas foster with an eggplant marinated in sugar then confited in butter giving the vegetable a texture very harking back to cooked bananas and heady salted caramel-esque taste edged with a vegetal bitterness.

preserved fruits
A quintet of fruit-based candies ended the night.

I visited the restaurant again in 2010, however discovered the expertise wanting. The meals was polished however felt in some way unsatisfying. This meal has the identical stage of class that I keep in mind however with a bit extra soul and creativity; delicately balancing the emphasis on lighter Californian flavors with flashes of lusty deeper taste.

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