Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lunch in Napa Valley - Bouchon Bistro

Mijo took me to Bouchon for a special lunch. Neither one of us has been here so we didn't know what to expect. I wanted my experience here to feel like opening a gift so I made it a point not to read the reviews beforehand.

Over all, we both enjoyed the bistro atmosphere. And the dishes we ordered - Beignets de Brandade, the crab and lobster crepe, bouchot mussels, bouchons dessert - were all delicious and well made!

Though the sunshine was glorious that day, technically, it was still winter when we drove up to Napa Valley that weekend. Parking around Bouchon was difficult because the town was having a street event called the Taste of Yountville that day. Our reservation was at 1pm.

Bouchon - Taste of Yountville

As if I was slowly opening a gift, I savored each course of our lunch at Bouchon. I think we must have lingered there for an hour and a half. I don't consider myself an expert on French cuisine but I've eaten in many French restaurants before. The ambience in Bouchon is typical bistro. Crowded, the tables near each other, lots of wall art, high noise level, the interior is a palette of red and brown and gold colors.

Bouchon - Crowd

Bouchon - Wall Art

The garçon, or our waiter, served two pieces of bread that looked like a demi baguette and a small bowl of lightly salted butter. The bread had this crunchy chewy crust and soft inside. It was delicious! The family on my left, who was speaking in Tagalog, noticed our breads and mentioned that they didn't get theirs. I nudged them and encouraged them in Tagalog to ask the waiter again because the breads are very good. We ordered two glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon from Diamond Mountain.

Bouchon - Cab Sauv

For the hors d'oeuvres, we decided on these Beignets de Brandade du Morue which is salt cod and olive emulsion but served inside these beignets and the tomato confit. I've had brandades before but this one had more texture and crunch to it. I like the addition of fried sage leaves. It was a pity we had to destroy the presentation.
Bouchon - Beignets de Brandade

Mijo picked from the plat du jour menu and not from the restaurant's regular menu. He decided on the crab and lobster crepe. It was not a lot but crepes as good as this, you don't need a lot to get satisfied. Mid way through the lunch, Mijo and I switched plates so I was able to taste it. Lots of tasty seafood flavor!
Bouchon - Crepe

I was told before that mussels are for Parisians what dungeness crabs are for San Franciscans. Of course, I don't know for sure if there is any truth to it. So I always order mussels when dining at a French bistro.  I ordered their Moules au Verjus which is steamed bouchot mussels with verjus, fennel, and pernod. It came with french fries with hints of truffle. It was heavenly.
Bouchon - Mussels

Finally, the bouchons for dessert. They were sort of french soft brownies served with a scoop of ice cream and caramel sauce. What a great finale to a great lunch.
Bouchon - Dessert

The service was top notch too. Our servers was attentive and were around when we needed them. They were also knowledgeable about their dishes and made great suggestions when we asked them.

Bouchon - Art Walk

After the lunch, we were able to walk around Washington St. and checked out the Taste of Yountville and admired the local arts scene. We were going to get some pastries and breads from the nearby Bouchon Bakery but the line to the store was long.

All in all, I was happy with my decision not to look at the ratings and comments about this restaurant. And I was rewarded in the end.  I had an idea that the food and service was going to be good but I had not imagined how good they were going to be. This is truly like opening a gift. I did peek at the menu online but thats it. 

Thanks Mijo for a wonderful lunch at Bouchon!


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