By 707 correspondent, Deirdre Bourdet.
This June in Napa was the rainiest in years, which made everybody cranky. Luckily we also had a rash of new restaurant openings to keep our spirits up through the grey days of early “summer.”
Yesterday the Thomas Keller Restaurant Group opened ADDENDUM, an all-takeout lunchtime operation in a small building behind Ad Hoc in Yountville. For $16.50, you can now score Ad Hoc’s famed buttermilk fried chicken (or barbecue) every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, plus two side dishes that change daily. If you can’t line up and place your order in person, you can call it in; big group orders must be made at least 24 hours in advance by email. Follow @AddendumatAdHoc on Twitter to get the current menu, and to find out how close they are to selling that last piece of glorious chicken. Hours are Thu-Sat 11am-2pm, or until food runs out. 6476 Washington St. at Mission, Yountville, 707-944-1565.
After an extended renovation that pushed back opening night by several months, EIKO’S finally opened at the corner of First and Franklin Streets in downtown Napa last Friday June 24th. Incredibly, the finished product looks exactly like the architect sketches on the restaurant’s Facebook page—a very far cry from Piccolino’s beige waiting room glory. Thanks to chef/partner Eiko Nakamura’s guidance, the food has also taken a dramatic turn for the swank. Everything I tried at the soft opening party was clean, contemporary, and very, very tasty. Greaseless fried calamari, chilled tomato soup sparkling with fresh ginger, seared ahi and avocado “tacos” in delicate wonton shells (a 1980s classic that will always be with us, it seems), and very respectable nigiri and maki sushi all got scarfed down in short order. According to the restaurant’s website, they’re now open for lunch and dinner every day, serving until 1am on Friday and Saturday. Another sexy option for Napa’s growing late night dining scene. 1385 First St. at Franklin, Napa, 707-501-4444.
The City of Napa’s oldest surviving structure also emerged from clouds of construction this month with the opening of TASTE OF THE HIMALAYAS in the Old Adobe at the intersection of Soscol Avenue and the Silverado Trail. On the menu: traditional Nepalese, Tibetan, and Indian-influenced dishes reinterpreted with a contemporary twist, using organic produce, free-range meats, and the finest quality wild-caught fish. I interviewed 31-year-old chef/owner Pemba Sherpa shortly after the opening, and confirmed that although he is a partner in the more traditional Taste of the Himalayas on the Sonoma Square, the Napa restaurant is a solo venture like the Sausalito location he opened last fall. Sherpa is now plotting to open a café serving breakfast and lunch at the Napa location, and hopes to score a liquor license that would allow him to start manufacturing tongba, Nepal’s traditional and much beloved millet-based alcohol. Rock ON. Fingers crossed. 376 Soscol Ave. at Silverado, Napa, 707-251-3840.
Last, but certainly not least, KITCHEN DOOR opened Tuesday June 14th in the Oxbow Public Market, in the space formerly occupied by the Oxbow Wine & Cheese Merchants (who are now inside the main hall). As predicted, the former Martini House team (Todd Humphries, Richard Miyashiro, Tim Seberson, and Christopher Litts) are cranking out some mighty fine global comfort food at mighty tiny prices. With counter service, wines on tap, no reservations, and no dish over $20, this place is destined for greatness. Check out a report and pictures from the pre-opening friends and family night here. Open lunch and dinner daily, 11am-9pm. 644 First St. in the Oxbow Public Market, Napa.