My heart belongs to La Toque. I have had some pretty impressive meals in my lifetime, and I keep coming back to Ken Frank, Scott Tracy, Yoon and the gang.
First things first, La Toque has moved to the brand new Westin Hotel in Napa, opening its doors on September 18, 2008. I will miss the country charm and simple elegance of the Rutherford location, but change is good (or so I have been told). In the words of the incredibly witty and adorable Scott Tracy, sommelier extraordinaire, "We can't wait for that new restaurant smell". This site has not updated the new phone number and address yet, please note the following:
1314 McKinstry St
Napa, CA 94559
Tel: (707) 257-5157
The incredibly talented Ken Frank, of La Toque in Los Angeles fame, moved his restaurant to Rutherford, CA 10 years ago. In Napa Valley, Ken Frank and his very capable staff, found even greater acclaim. La Toque offers culinary thrills for the most sophisticated palette without the pretense and stuffiness of the French Laundry. From foie gras to skate wing, and everything in between, Ken Frank continues to serve up innovative and creative dishes, never predictable or contrived. The menu is always seasonal, offering the freshest produce available. I had a Kanapachi that literally melted in my mouth and a foie gras corndog I still dream about.
Now for the sommelier team of Scott Tracy and Yoon Ha, the most dynamic of duos, forever replacing Batman & Robin in my thesaurus. I have been a huge Scott Tracy fan since his days in Los Angeles at 24/24 Pico. Not only is his knowledge of wine vast, dependable and surprising at times, he has an incredible way with people too. I have witnessed him melt the frostiest of guests with his razor sharp wit and indelible charm. As if my heart wasn't full enough with La Toque loving, Yoon Ha comes along. Although I have only met Yoon in the past year, he has quickly risen to the top of my most favored sommeliers list. Yoon is a rising star with an incredible knowledge and vocabulary for wine. Together Scott Tracy and Yoon Ha create an incomparable wine pairing to accompany Chef Ken Frank's nightly creations. It is rumored Chef likes to throw culinary curve balls to test their acumen, and they always knock it out of the park. I highly recommend having the wine pairing and getting both Scott Tracy and Yoon Ha to weigh in on their selections. Both men have such an incredible breadth of knowledge and their own, unique way of sharing their passion.
The service staff is not to be ignored either! I will never forget one of my first visits to La Toque; we dined, imbibed, chatted and laughed the night away. Before we knew it, 12:30 PM had rolled around and we were the last table in the restaurant. Every candle was still lit, every staff member attending to us like we had just arrived. Everyone was so gracious in spite of the fact they surely wanted to be elsewhere. Paul is my favorite server de jour; he has waited on me during my past 2 visits. He is funny, sharp, professional, well informed and personable. I swear the staff keeps dossiers on the patrons, they know whether I prefer sparkling or flat without having to ask.
Do yourself a huge service and dine at this restaurant. It is not just another dinner; it is an experience to be savored and shared! Oh, and don't forget to check out Chef Ken Frank's shoes...
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