We were very excited to have snagged reservations at this intimate and exclusive restaurant at the Justin Winery. We are big fans of Isosceles and had high expectations.
The drive to the restaurant is about 15 miles of winding roads. Doing this in the day time is gorgeous. At night, in the dark with no streetlights is a challenge, watching for critters in the road and which way the next curve is turning. After the long drive we were happy to walk into the winery but stood waiting in the lobby (with the dog) and no one was there. Finaly a man came out of the dining area and his first words to us were "Got a name?"
Not "welcome", or "good evening", or "how was your drive", but "Got a name?" This is to someone who he knows is about to spend no less than $200 without any wine. I suppose he figured we'd made the drive and wouldn't be leaving. He turned out to be our waiter, Timothy. While he was more polite and accommodating once we were seated, he had a lot of ground to regain after that first greeting. Unfortunately, that really set the tone.
The food was fine, the menu is unique and, if you're not an open and adventurous eater you might struggle with a course or two. We did not choose the wine pairing and were very happy with the 2005 Isosceles we chose. The pork belly was flavorful, but was like eating bacon fat. The butternut squash soup was very good. The bouillabaisse was not what I expected and was more of a marinara sauce than a tomato based broth.
The dog wandered into the restaurant during our meal. He (she?) was friendly and docile, but smelled like a dog, so not the best dinner companion.
I really expected to be wowed at that price point ($90 per person) and we were underwhelmed. My husband is sorry that we went, but I am glad that we did as, aside from the rude greeting, the ambiance is very romantic and cozy. There were only two other couples and a small group the night we were there.
With the long drive, unless you are staying at the winery, I'd think it would be a better lunch venue. Never say never, but I don't think we'd ever go back for dinner. Maybe lunch. Maybe once is enough.
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