March 13, 2012

March 13, 2012
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Some pig; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

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Tarla’s meze sampler includes stuffed mussels, zucchini cakes, feta, dolmas, tzatziki, hummus, olives, and pita; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.

By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

~NAPA VALLEY BISCUITS~ opened Saturday March 3rd to an overwhelming wave of customers that forced them to shut down operations by mid-afternoon. According to co-owner Tara Lindley, the predicted 100-check day had seen more than a hundred people within the first two hours, and supplies obviously were running way too low to keep serving dinner as planned. After several more slammin’ services and forced early closures, the restaurant voluntarily closed its doors Saturday afternoon for a whole week, to install more cold storage space and fryers for their fabulous chicken biscuit sandwiches.

I barely made it in for their first (and so far, only) dinner service last Friday night, since they barricaded the door shortly after 7pm, but the early report is good. Preparations were fresh, real, and simple, and priced accordingly. The most expensive thing we got was the $8 “Big Mamma” sandwich, a towering biscuit-clad figure stuffed with bacon, juicy fried chicken breast, and housemade apple butter. Sides like the back to basics mac and cheese and braised greens were $2.50 each, and the Carolina-style pulled pork “Wilber” sandwich was just $7.75. Vintage sodas like Cheerwine and spicy Blenheim Ginger Ale are $2.50 as well, making a meal out very easy on the wallet. Let’s hope these renovations don’t take longer than a week, because Napa clearly needs this place. 1502 Main St. at Napa St., Napa, 707-265-8209.

Another newcomer to downtown Napa has seen booming business of late. Snazzy ~TARLA MEDITERRANEAN GRILL~ in the West End has been packed every time I’ve visited, with a line of people waiting at the front (no reservations). The menu takes its inspiration from the eastern Mediterranean, with lots of Greek and Turkish specialties like spanakopita, saganaki, meze platters, shawarma, and kabobs. The wine list has a minimal markup, and several very good Turkish options as well as the requisite retsina. White copper water glasses and accented Turkish bartenders lend a refreshingly exotic touch to the downtown scene, which may account for some of the female public’s cultish fascination. Definitely worth checking out, especially on a sunny day (sidewalk seating on First Street has full sun most of the afternoon). 1480 First St. at School St., Napa, 707-255-5599.

In the realm of reopenings, ~LUCY~ (fka Bardessono Restaurant), ~AD HOC~, and ~BOUCHON BAKERY~ are all up and running again after their winter closures and renovations.

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