Napa Valley: a touch of the Mediterranean at Auberge du Soleil
I always admired chefs that worked glocally - got inspired by flavours and dishes from all over the world but translated them into a local version of them. Chef Robert Curry of Auberge du Soleil does exactly that, he draws his inspiration from the Mediterranean countries however uses only local ingredients to cook. He is also focusing on the importance of fresh ingredients in his cuisine ensuring that all dishes are made with seasonal flavours.
Auberge du Soleil is a restaurant part of the premier inn Auberge du Soleil in Rutherford, a small town in the wine country. It first opened as just a restaurant and later introduced cottages for the travellers looking for a one of a kind experience.
Besides the cuisine that is elevated to the highest level possible being a restaurant with one Michelin star, the location is pretty spectacular. A wonderful porch overlooking vineyards, gardens and the valley. It makes you feel like you are lost in a magical space. If you walk around in the hotel you will be able to see several works of art all distinct and unique.
When it comes to food, as you can imagine from the presentation to the smell and flavour, all your senses will be heightened. Simple yet elegant each dish is a wonder to look at.
From the starters, you understand that this will not be another ordinary restaurant experience. The highlight is probably the potato gnocchi, one of the fluffiest and best dishes I have ever had! It literally melted in the mouth and left a parmesan aftertaste in the palate.
All the main dishes managed to bring back Mediterranean notes from the Cabernet braised short rib that was served with a bordelaise sauce to the Northern Halibut with the eggplant caponata and the Risotto with shrimps and Parmigiano Reggiano.
Being a sweet tooth person myself I found very difficult to choose among the lengthy list of desserts so I settled for what seemed like the most aromatic of all - a rhubarb compote.