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Apr 29, 2011 2 min read

A New Kitchen Door for the Martini House Team

A New Kitchen Door for the Martini House Team
Martini House’s cauliflower mushroom pasta; photo by Deirdre Bourdet.
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By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.

Fans of Richard Miyashiro and Todd Humphries’ Martini House can stop their mourning. The two have reassembled their A-team for a brand new venture in Napa’s Oxbow Public Market called KITCHEN DOOR, projected to open in the old Oxbow Wine Merchants space the second week in June. The project marks a sea change for all of the key players—Miyashiro, Humphries, chef de cuisine Christopher Litts, and GM Tim Seberson—who have worked most of their careers in the white tablecloth, fine dining category. When I spoke with them a few weeks ago, they were all stoked to be stripping down for their new adventure, eliminating reservations, waiters, linens, and formality. Guests will order and pay at the front cashier, choose their own seats, and either watch as the open kitchens gets cracking or kick back outside on the Oxbow’s awesome riverside patio.

The main seating area inside is right in the middle of the restaurant, with a communal table, bar counter seating, and great views of the various prep stations along the external walls of the dining room. I can’t wait to see their new wood-fired Mugnaini oven in action. Besides the obvious pizzas and roast chickens, this little baby will soon be churning out more unusual roasts like Armenian flatbreads, seasonal seafood, and ash-roasted potatoes.

Humphries described the menu style as locally sourced, seasonal, and handmade, but more accurately just the stuff the chefs want to eat when they’re not working. Serious comfort food for seriously jaded palates. No word yet on whether Humphries will reprise his Martini House mushroom tasting menus, but foraged mushrooms will definitely feature prominently in season. His beloved candy cap mushrooms are almost certain to make an appearance in maple-scented desserts, and, I’m hoping, will also find their way into the flavor list for their housemade soft-serve ice cream.

The price point for Kitchen Door will be quite a bit lower than Martini House, as you’ve probably guessed. Affordability is one of the main goals here, so there will always be a selection of local wines on tap, and other well-priced options by the bottle to complement the sharing-size plates. To the relief of picnickers and locals alike, takeout will be a big part of Kitchen Door’s operations, and the restaurant plans to offer soups, hand pies, pantry items, and other ready-to-eat snacks to go in addition to the regular menu.

Kitchen Door will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week from 11am, with continuous service until 9pm, as well as brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 9am. Yes, at long last, the Oxbow will finally have a true brunch destination. 644 First St. in the Oxbow Public Market, Napa. No phone yet.

Kitchen Door’s pristine new Mugnaini oven; photo courtesy of Kitchen Door.
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