Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mustards Grill

Mustards Grill was named for the wild mustard flowers that bloom in the vineyards every spring, which help to nourish the soil. Mustard is an integral part of Napa Valley's wine growing diversity. After 30 years of feeding Napa Valley and its visitors, Mustards Grill is still the hub of the food and wine community where winemakers lunch with truckers and chefs come to dine on their night off.

After our first full day of winery tours, we came to Mustards Grill for dinner.  The restaurant atmosphere was quaint, and we were seated in the back of the main dining room.

After perusing the extensive wine menu, we settled on a half bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, Silverado, Napa Valley 2011 for $38.  We figured a half bottle would be enough because we already had so much wine during the day - ha - and this particular one was from another local winery that was on our list to visit, yet we ran out of time.

While at our first winery of the day, we were chatting with the lady leading our tasting.  She asked where we were planning to have dinner and when we responded with Mustards, she insisted we order the ahi appetizer.  She said, "I don't know what they do to it, but it is to die for."  It was such a good endorsement that we decided to order it.  The Ahi Tuna Crackers came with wasabi crème fraîche and soy vinaigrette.  Frankly, it was just okay.  The ahi was seared and coated with sesame seeds, and all the toppings and accoutrements overpowered the fish.

We also ordered the Chipotle Spiced Quail with arugula salad and grilled local peaches.  I am not sure I've had quail before, but figured it was more like chicken than duck.  I would describe it as a combination of the two - slightly chewy but not that gamy.  The grill flavor was accentuated by the peaches and peppery arugula.

For my main dish, I ordered the Lemon and Garlic Chicken with local vegetables - tonight a freshly sauteed kale and mashed potatoes - and a lemon vinaigrette.  The chicken was very tender and juicy from the bright lemon sauce.  I really enjoyed this dish, and surprisingly ate most of this large portion.

Keith ordered the Famous Mongolian Pork Chop served with sweet & sour red cabbage, mashed potatoes, and topped with a housemade mustard.  The pork chop was huge and had a distinct Asian flavor from the glaze.

For dessert, we shared the Classic Creme Brulée served with a sugar cookie.  The custard was pretty traditional, but a little too soft and runny.  It was not that impactful.

Overall, our dinner at Mustards Grill was satisfying.  We were about the only patrons left by the time our bill arrived.  Though not one of the fancier places in Napa, Mustards Grill is still popular with the locals and the chef is well known in the valley.  I appreciated the fresh farm-to-grill essence that came through in the dishes, proving that Napa cuisine is not just about wine and cheese pairings.

Total Rating: 3.95
Food: 4, Price: 4, Service: 3.5, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:
Ahi Tuna Crackers
wasabi crème fraîche, soy vinaigrette

Chipotle Spiced Quail
 arugula salad, grilled local peaches

Lemon and Garlic Chicken
local vegetables, lemon vinaigrette

Classic Creme Brulée
always with a cookie

Plus Keith ate:
Famous Mongolian Pork Chop
sweet & sour red cabbage, housemade mustard

Mustards Grill on Urbanspoon

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