The Restaurant at Meadowood recently earned the coveted three Michelin stars under the reins of chef Christopher Kostow. According to my research, Chef Kostow is one of only a handful of American-born chefs, and third youngest chef ever to receive three Michelin stars (he wasn’t even 30).
I am going to apologise straight up for the scarce descriptions of the dishes we enjoyed.
I don’t think it will come as a surprise to anyone, but food bloggers don’t always write up, let alone publish, their posts as soon as the meal is over.
I try to keep on top of things but life does occasionally get in the way. It is now a month since our dinner at Meadowood and I am struggling to remember what we ate!
I do have two copies of the menu, which we were given at the end of the meal, but like many fine dining restaurants it lists the core ingredients of each dish which sometimes isn’t enough, and it is not 100% clear which dish is what and my menu (they have our names on them) has lobster on it, which I definitely didn’t eat. Ah well, I will do my best, this might be more of a photo post though!
Meadowood is a luxury resort set in the foothills just outside of St Helena in California. We had booked a taxi to drive us from our accommodation in Napa, which takes around half an hour. We came up a long tree-lined drive and saw the swimming pool and the tennis courts before passing the reception building and pulling up at an adjacent building that houses the fine dining restaurant and also The Grill.
We had left plenty of time for the drive, so arriving early, we decided to have a pre-dinner drink at the bar.
The bar area is only small, I took the above photo from a bar stool, but I imagine it would be very cosy on a cooler day when the fire was lit.
We both had a glass of Gaston Chiquet champagne, and tried to unwind after our busy day and frantic rush to get to Meadowood on time.
We were told that when we were ready, a table had been prepared for us outside. I was really happy with this as it was a beautiful day and we could look over the grounds. J had to remove his suit jacket as it was a bit warm to start with. The shades were gradually pulled up as it became cooler.
From our table we could see part of the nine-hole golf course, the croquet lawn, and the croquet clubhouse. This place even has a croquet pro! Golf and tennis pros I have heard of but never a croquet pro.
The only way I can think to describe this resort is to compare it to the resort setting of the classic movie Dirty Dancing. That is what it reminded me of, but a lot more modern. I really don’t think we have anything to compare in Australia, someone has suggested Lake House in Daylesford but Meadowood is much grander and has more of that country club vibe to it (or what I imagine a country club vibe to be, seeing as I have never been in a true American country club).
I though the verandah setting was simple, but beautiful.
Our table, complete with birthday card for J.
I had contacted the restaurant before our visit letting them know it was J’s birthday and could I pre-arrange a bottle of champagne, and was there anything else they could do to make it special. I was sent a wine list and an assurance that the staff would do anything they could to help make it a special occasion (thanks to Brook for organising everything).
After we got settled, a bottle of Ruinart Rose champagne was brought out in an ice bucket. I had deliberated for ages about which champagne to order. I think J was happy with my choice; he was certainly surprised!
We had also brought a bottle of 2007 cabernet that had been given to us earlier in the day by a client of J’s. We were asked how we would like the staff to care for the wine, and J asked for it to be chilled (was hot after being in the taxi) and decanted. This too, was set up next to us, with an amazing decanter.
J joked to the waiter that he wouldn’t want to have one of those decanters at home as he would break it. The waiter replied that he had three at home! I thought he was joking, but I am not sure….
The food started arriving and our first bite was a pillow of filo pastry filled with cheese.
A stunning way to get the taste buds going and I could have easily had half a dozen of these morsels.
Next was a shared glass of baby vegetables sat in what I think was an avocado base.
Fresh and crisp, the ingredients for this healthy dish came straight from the kitchen garden, as did most, if not all, the other vegies we ate that night.
Meadowood definitely mixes it up in regards to serving ware, the next round of bites were served in a book!
The carrot tops were so light and reminded us of sponges, the tomato and cheese(?) were the favourite though. After eating the delicacies we were encouraged to have a look through the book, which included paper clipped photos of the garden.
Here’s another shot of the view.
The first proper dish was whipped yogurt black sesame pickled plum shiso.
I then had summer cherry tomatos lovage, a mix of different kinds of tomatoes and a tomato sorbet.
J had an abalone dish.
The below dish was my least favourite of the night. I think it was the garden cucumber sesame seed borage. It was nice, it just wasn’t on the same level as the other dishes.
J had a trout dish with forgotten herb, beet and peaches. This was his least favourite dish of the evening. He didn’t like the way it was cooked and said he has had better elsewhere.
Have you noticed something missing? What do all good restaurants serve with every meal? Bread!
Instead of providing bread throughout the meal, Meadowood does bread matching with certain dishes. This allows diners to try different kinds of bread, and also means that no-one gets to full nibbling on bread all evening (as we all do).
This was the summer vegetable curry, so fresh.
This dish was one of my favourites, a bouillon of roasted meats. The only thing was I found it a bit hard to drink out of such a thick rimmed vessel.
Our next dish was poussin hen of the woods tiny greens. We were presented with the whole poussin before it was whisked away to be carved and served.
More bread to go with the poussin.
We never went inside the main dining room, as we came straight onto the verandah from the bar but here is a shot I got of the inside.
The next dish was another favourite, cote de boeuf snails snails chanterelles. That translate to a melt in the mouth piece of beef topped with snails and mushies!
Like the vegies, the snails were out of the garden! Chef collects them, purges them and serves ‘em up!
The palate cleanser.
A birthday treat for J, which came rolled up in a scroll.
We finished the evening off with a half bottle of Krug.
And petite fours!
The staff were attentive and friendly and happy to have a chat, but not overbearing and knew when to leave diners alone.
The only thing we found a bit weird was after someone returned from the bathroom (which was out through the front door) all the staff said welcome back. It didn’t really seem necessary to be welcomed back from the bathroom, and especially not by two or three people.
Chef Kostow was in the kitchen that evening but we didn’t see him, except for a glance through the window as he served an inside table.
We asked the staff to call a taxi for us, and only had to wait a short time in the bar before it arrived.
We really enjoyed our dinner at Meadowood and would recommend it.