Archive for the 'Etoile – Yountville' Category

Etoile – Domaine Chandon

Etoile restaurant is set on the lovely grounds of Domaine Chandon, just outside of Yountville.

On a warm summer day, the patio is the perfect place to dine.

Oysters on the half shell, cucumber migonette, key lime and dill – excellent beginning

Beef tartare, young ginger, allspice, gribiche, summer white truffles, sous vide farm egg, toast points – the best way to eat this is to dump the tartare contents from its container and mix everything together with the egg and spices – the beef was just the right consistency and the spices, gribiche and egg were excellent accompaniments.

However, when I compare the two photos of the beef tartare from our first visit to this one (above first tartare), there was much more seasoning in the first version and “dumping” was unnecessary.  Even the crostini in the first tartare prep look better than the toast points in second prep.

Tempura Soft Shell Crab, Chive Custard, Green Tomatoes, Frissee, Watercress – we shared this dish and this was somewhat of a disappointment as there were 2 tiny portions of the soft shells. It was mostly salad – good, but not what I expected.

Handmade Ricotta Angolotti, Artichokes, Smoked Tomato Jus, Truffled Egg Yolk, English Peas – I didn’t taste this as my friend ordered this. He seemed to enjoy it.

A nice lunch in a lovely setting.

Etoile- Yountville

Someone whose opinion we trust suggested that we try Etoile, Domaine Chandon’s fine dining restaurant. We had been there years ago when Phillipe Jeanty was the chef de cuisine, but after he left the restaurant, it just wasn’t very good – think overwrought “continental” cuisine. Well, we decided to give it another try as the new chef, Perry Hoffman was suppose to be very good.

The chef- Perry Hoffman

From their website:

“Born and raised in the Napa Valley, Perry Hoffman literally grew up in fine-dining kitchens. His grandparents, Sally and Don Schmitt, were the original owners of The French Laundry, the Yountville restaurant made famous by its present owner Thomas Keller. In the 1980s, Perry would help his grandmother in the kitchen making croutons, roasting bell peppers and chopping parsley. This early experience sparked Perry’s passion for cooking, which ultimately shaped his chosen career.”

“Perry started working as a pantry chef at a local neighborhood restaurant at age 15. And after stops at the Boonville Hotel in the Anderson Valley, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, the Mauna Lani in Hawaii and two years as sous chef under Robert Curry at Auberge du Soleil, Perry came to étoile in July, 2007. He leads the multidimensional team that involves winemakers, sommeliers and chefs working together to bring the food and wine experience to a world-class level. Perry enjoys creating wine-inspired food, drawing on étoile’s extensive gardens, located just steps from the kitchen door, and his daily interaction with the winemakers. This unique position helps him create fresh, seasonal dishes with the wines in mind. And he’s located less than a mile from where he first started “working” in another Yountville kitchen over 20 years ago.”

The room

Another view of the room

Ryan, our excellent server, helping another patron

The orchid on the table

The wine, especially made for Donna Karan – we liked it so much we bought a case

Miyagi Oysters with bitter orange and shallot mignonette, chive garnish

We decided to be VERY extravagant and order the caviar tasting – serving dish for the caviar

chopped egg whites, capers, chopped egg yolks, diced shallots, chopped chives, creme fraiche with chives – You add the accompaniments to your particular tastes.

Toast for the caviar


We ate every single drop

Beef Tartar- Prime New York steak,  young ginger, allspice, Dijon, shallots, gribiche and the yolk was cooked sous vide

Since we were on extravagant “roll”, we had Alba white truffles shaved tableside

Yes, it was a very expensive lunch and I wouldn’t do the caviar tasting again, given the cost. But there was plenty on the menu to choose from and I would definitely have the beef tartar again.