***This is part 4 of my “Napa-versary” trip report detailing a recent visit to Napa Valley to celebrate our 1-year wedding anniversary***
1. Eating Napa
2. Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort Part I – Check-In, Our Lodge
3. Calistoga Ranch, An Auberge Resort Part II – Resort Facilities, Activities, and Food
4. The Restaurant at Meadowood + Meeting Chef Christopher Kostow
5. Eating Sonoma
Ever since Chef Christopher Kostow took over as Executive Chef at The Restaurant at Meadowood, it’s been shooting up in the culinary world and currently is only 1 of 2 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area with three Michelin stars (the other being The French Laundry). It’s also ranked at #80 on the (somewhat controversial) San Pellagrino “Best Restaurants in the World” list which we use as another source, but by no means the authority, on restaurant rankings.
Our dinner reservation at Meadowood wasn’t until 9:15pm, which gave us just enough time to digest from lunch and all of the snacks we had earlier in the day. Compared to The French Laundry where a significant amount of luck is needed to just get a reservation, reserving a table at Meadowood was surprisingly easy and just required booking about a month in advance.
It’s a short 10-15 minute drive from Calistoga Ranch to the Meadowood resort, which along with the restaurant, features a hotel, spa, and golf course. The resort is on a huge compound, and in the dark it was tough to follow some of the signs, but eventually we found our way to the main lobby. We peeked inside on our way to the restaurant just to take a look.
The restaurant is located just a few steps from the hotel lobby, and we were warmly greeted at the door and shown inside. We had arrived early, so we spent a few minutes relaxing in the bar area and were seated next to the fireplace in the middle of the room which helped us warm up on this chilly night.
At the end of the meal, we were invited in for a quick kitchen tour, which is offered to each table individually throughout the night. The restaurant had recently completed a million-dollar kitchen renovation, and it shows. We were actually surprised how big the kitchen was, given the fact they probably don’t service more than 75-100 people in a given night.
As luck would have it, Chef Christopher Kostow walked by during our tour and we had a chance to do a brief meet and greet with him. As luck would have it I had just blogged about his partnership with the new American Express Centurion Lounge opening at SFO later this year, so I looked like I had done my homework and was able to ask him about it.
Overall, an amazing dining experience at The Restaurant at Meadowood. I emphasize the word “experience”, since at most top restaurants it’s a given that the food will be delicious (and if it isn’t, that’s a whole other problem). But at Meadowood, the food is really, really delicious, and is still memorable as I write this several weeks later. The rest of the experience was top-notch and they really make you feel appreciated with everything from the hand-written notes, to the personalized service, and lastly to the individual kitchen tours.We hope to go back one day – in fact, the restaurant keeps track of the exact menu each guest has had previously to ensure that they are given an entirely new experience each and every time.