Napa Weekend: La Toque Restaurant
The first meal Sheri and I had on our Napa weekend was dinner at La Toque. They have moved from Rutherford and are now located inside the Westin Verasa Napa at 1314 McKinstry St, just north of the Oxbow Public Market and behind the Wine Train station. How nice that our friends, James and Kimberly, are quite well known to the management and staff. Because of their connections, we were seated at one of the best tables in the restaurant, a large booth with a view of the kitchen and the entire dining room.
Chef, Ken Frank, and wine director, Scott Tracy, have put together an unrivaled tasting menu combining the best foods of the season with the best wines of Napa and other great wine regions all within an elegant setting at the Westin. What was truly unique was the ability to choose how many courses you wanted: 2, 3, 4 or the full 6 course extravagance with or without the wine pairings. Perfect for those who wish to eat less but still want the dining experience. Scott Tracy personally served all our wines, showed us the bottles, and took the time to tell us some unique facts about each of them.
My meal started with the Boston Bluefin Tuna Sashimi with Pickles and Fresh Wasabi Root paired with a 2007 Gruner Veltliner Alte Rebenl, Josef Nigl, from Kremstal, Austria. The acidity in the wine was just enough to cut through the fat of the tuna while not overpowering it. The thoughtful finishing touch was serving it with chopsticks.
The second course was the Liberty Farm Duck Breast on Fried Polenta and Onion Jam paired with the 2006 Keplinger Knight’s Valley, Red Slope Grenache. What a perfect pairing with the savory duck bringing out the floral aromas and ripe cherry sweetness of the Grenache. My only complaint was there just wasn’t enough of either duck or wine. (I solved the wine complaint on Sunday by going to the winery and buying six bottles of this.)
My third course combined the Prime Angus Ribeye served rare with Twice Fried Potatoes and Rutherford Red Wine Sauce with a 2005 Miner, Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Up until this meal, I thought Filet Mignon was the best but this Ribeye proved me wrong. Of course, rich red meat begs for a Cabernet and the smooth full-bodied Miner belied its young vintage.
My friends had similarly great courses including the Wolfe Farms Quail with Yellow and Black Trumpet Mushrooms with a 2006 Beaune 1st Cru, Les Teurons, Nicolas Potel and the Slow Roasted Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Potato Risotto paired with a 2005 Yates Family Vineyard “Cheval”, Mount Veeder.
Dessert was a cheese plate for our friends who gave up refined sugar for Lent. Sheri and I had the signature chocolate dish with these chocolate meringue pillars, the name of which escapes me. Suffice it to say that it was delicious.