My Take: Tyler Florence’s Rotisserie & Wine

August 5, 2011

Update 7/7/12: Sadly, Tyler decided to close Rotisserie & Wine to concentrate on the other restaurants. You can still get your fix at the San Francisco Airport’s Terminal 2.

It was off to Napa’s riverfront or what I call “restaurant row” as more eateries pop up including, Rotisserie & Wine. If I waited any longer to visit, Tyler Florence probably would have a chain of restaurants at the rate he’s going. R&W is one of three, including Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco and El Paseo Steakhouse in Marin County, that he has opened in the past year. Busy chef/entrepreneur.

The atmosphere at the restaurant is great. The location right on Napa’s riverfront is a great setting, especially for having drinks and appetizers in the patio area.  The combination of the stone work on the building and black trimming on the doorways and fences creates a perfect mix of the rustic, wine country feel and Tyler’s modern all-American style that is fully embraced at Wayfare Tavern in the city.

Inside bar area

The chalkboard anatomy artwork above the open kitchen

It was great to see all the food come out. Only thing missing was Tyler himself in action.

On the side counter, fresh summer peaches and potatoes in cast iron pots.

To start, the beef tartare appetizer.

Popovers cut in half with nice portioned canneles of tartare.  For the toppings, crispy thin fried onions and capers.  Served on a free form wood plank.  I assumed we were to put the tartare on top of the popover and eat it like an amuse bouche, but I’m not quite sure. Regardless the beef was fresh and the condiments were fun. It was a great way to start the meal.

The complimentary cornbread at the beginning of the meal. It was so moist, I almost thought it was undercooked. I’ve never had anything like it before. Right before serving, they drizzled honey onto the butter and the cornbread was piping hot so it just oozed into the bread. f I could take the pan straight from the oven, I would have been truly satisfied.

The star dish of the restaurant, the rotisserie chicken with marble potatoes. I went straight for the potatoes cooked in the chicken drippings. They brought me straight back to the rotisseries at the open markets in Paris, but so much juicier! The chicken had a wonderfully crispy skin and cooked well, however they were a little heavy-handed with the salt. A little bit less and it would be perfect. The salsa verde was refreshing and kept the dish from being too heavy.

Our side of mac and cheese with local cheeses. It was creamy and delicious. I’m not a cheese connoisseur so I’m not sure what blend was used for the sauce but I do wish it were a bit more tangy, like if there was gruyere or a cheddar in there.

I ordered the BBQ pork ribs.  Fall off the bone, tender perfection. The cole slaw wasn’t drowning in sauce. It was light and slightly sweet so it went very well with the ribs. The baked beans were great as well. No crumbs left on the plate.

In the midst of eating, a server comes over with some spicy sugar snap peas. I guess they made extra? I am certainly glad because I would have never thought to order this. The peppery sauce on top is addictingly good and needs to be bottled and sold. It would make any kid love veggies.

Ready for dessert! We got this fun antique looking fork and spoon set.

We had to end the meal strong, so… a double order of the peanut butter crunch bar. It was a decadent, layered version of a rice krispie treat.

On top and scattered on the side was a crunchy peanut brittle which unfortunately kept getting stuck and made it difficult to eat. The best part was the peanut butter ice cream.

As always, for balance from the richness of the chocolate, I ordered a fruit dessert, the panna cotta with pineapple and huckleberry sauce. I’m really liking these cast iron servers. The pineapple chunks with huckleberry sauce was a genius combination and I’m thankful they was a lot of it. Panna cotta was good but the fruit and sauce stole the show.

All in all I’ve basically gushed this entire review. The restaurant is definitely worth a stop.

Rotisserie & Wine
720 Main St
Napa, CA 94559

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