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Eat Me: “Celadon” Napa, CA

March 27, 2012

Below is the second installment of the new restaurant review section. This meal was exactly 24 hours after our vegetarian debacle from the night before, as reviewed in the first “Eat Me” post. At this time, your humble host and his wife were still experiencing the upscale, alcoholic nirvana that is Napa Valley. Check it out:

My wife and I recently took our first trip to Napa with high expectations for the meals that we had planned. On our first night, we were victims of “Ubuntu”, which I now realize may have been one of the worlds largest, and best synchronized practical jokes. So it was with some uncertainty that we ventured out on our second night to one of Greg Coles’ two area restaurants, “Celadon”. And it quite possibly and single-handedly, saved our trip to wine country.

The atmosphere: A few weeks before our trip, I was advised (Thank you, Tripadvisor.) to call and request an outdoor table near the fireplace. Great tip, and one I pass on to you. We were promptly seated by an extremely pleasant hostess at our reserved table for two up against the island brick fireplace, which stood in the middle of the outdoor, yet covered seating area. The exposed brick of the neighboring buildings and lush foliage of the surroundings added a sense of calm, relaxation and romance.
The Meal: Three words, folks: Crispy…Pork …Bellies (Suck on THAT, Ubuntu.). This was probably the best appetizer I had ever had. (Until later in the week at the Slanted Door in San Francisco, but that’s a story for a different review.) I hate clichés, but there is no other way to describe this dish than it simply melted in your mouth. And the fresh watermelon cubes really caused the flavor of the belly to explode on your palate. The only complaint I have with this dish was that it completely upstaged my cream of Onion soup, with a swirl of vanilla. It was the type of soup that forces you to wonder whats the worst that would happen if you actually licked the bottom of the empty bowl. (Spoiler alert: I, in fact, did not lick the bowl, at my wifes request.) I then enjoyed a perfectly seared medium-rare duck breast in a subtle Orange-Ginger glaze. My wifes scallops, which were recommended by the waiter, were big in size, and bigger in flavor. Then for dessert, we enjoyed (understatement) an apricot and cranberry crisp, topped with homemade vanilla gelato. This was a special for this particular night, so if you are heading there, good luck. I hope for your sake, this dessert is available. A word of warning though, it is more than enough for two to share, so order wisely. All of this food, as well as two cocktails apiece for my wife and I, and the bill, with a better than 20% tip, came to about $120. Great value, and incidentally, half of what “Ubuntu” charged for the four course dinner salad we were served the night prior.

The service: Our waiter was present, but not over-bearing. He was attentive, courteous and well qualified to speak intelligently on the menu. Our water glasses were never allowed to reach the half-way point, and the table was cleared and cleaned promptly between each course.

Also, the restaurant is right on the banks of the Napa river, perfect for a quiet leisurely walk after a wonderful meal. Celadon was instrumental in clearing our palates after the travesty that was our first nights “vegetarian” dining experience. It possibly saved our trip, and we are grateful to Greg Cole, and the entire staff at Celadon.

P.S. My wife was smart enough to bring a light sweater, which turned out to be necessary. It gets cool at night in Napa, and the patio is heated, but can get a little chilly if you are not lightly covered with a sweater or long-sleeve shirt.

2 Comments
  1. Jillgeorge permalink

    I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading this review.And how sweet it is that you cared about your wife being chilly.I hate to tell you this but you are really not very arrogant…just kind of smart.

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