The Restaurant at Meadowood
One of a handful of Michelin three-star restaurants in the United States is the Restaurant at Meadowood in St.-Helena, California. (The only other three-star venue in Napa Valley is Thomas Keller’s highly respected French Laundry in Yountville.) Although I have stayed at the Meadwood Resort many times, this is the first time I ate at the restaurant. The service was impeccable, they have a fabulous wine list and the food was very creative and singular in style. Chef Christopher Kostow and Sommelier Rom Toulon (who suggested the dry white wine from Austria, the terrific 2008 Weingut Wieninger) are both at the top of their game. I rarely go to three-star restaurants simply because I rarely enjoy the long, long meals and cuisine that often seems to have more form over substance. However, this was very, very good. My favorite dishes include a terrific razor clam dish, the twice cooked foie gras and the crayfish and scallop dish with poached chicken quenelles. I could also add the agnolotti with brie. I never get excited over desserts, but they were light, fresh and full of flavor.
The wines included an excellent non-vintage Blanc de Blanc from Dom Ruinart, the aforementioned, surprisingly full-flavored, intense 2008 Nussberg Alte Reben from Wieninger(a perfect match up wine), and a magnificent red wine from one of the greatest vineyards in Napa Valley, Abreu’s 2005 Thorevilos. While this is an expensive restaurant, I liked the friendliness and outstanding professionalism of the waiters.
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Petit Louis Bistro
A lookalike, authentic French bistro, Petit Louis in Baltimore's Roland Park is the creation of restauranteurs par excellence Cindy Wolf and Tony Foreman. You feel like you’ve walked into a bistro on the Left Bank of Paris when you enter Petit Louis. The food is classic bistro, and they do it well. All of the courses we had were flavorful, sometimes a trifle rustic, but delicious in their intensity. This was good comfort food prepared extremely well. The wines started with one of the major surprises for me over the last year, the 2006 sparking wine from Tony Soter in Oregon. I had this several times while I was out visiting Oregon, and I had always been impressed, but this is a 10-year-old sparking Rosé that is just sensational, and I’m talking world class—it’s that good. Something this good from France would cost at least two to three times as much, so kudos to Tony Soter. The 1995 Billaud-Simon Chablis Mont de Milieu was oxidized and undrinkable. The 1996 Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Gris Clos St. Urbain Rangen de Thann was sweet, and although it went well with the foie gras, it was just a little too unctuous and sweet a wine...