Duck Excess fat Fries and Ahi Tuna Nachos: Our Favorite Foodstuff at BottleRock Napa Valley


For the earlier ten many years, Napa Valley’s BottleRock culinary scene has been the put to see chefs rocking both guiding the food stuff booth and on the culinary stage.

This 12 months, the Williams-Sonoma culinary phase has a significantly stellar lineup of internationally regarded cooks, such as Jose Andres, David Chang, Roy Choi and Andrew Zimmern, who will pair up with executing bands for typical silliness. But, and I say this delicately, there’s a recognizable absence of neighborhood chefs rocking inside of their foodstuff stalls and a real dearth of creativeness on the menus.

Unless, that is, you adore fried chicken sandwiches or barbecue pulled pork. These consolation meals classics dominate food items stall menus, comforting, straightforward(ish) to make and at a price tag issue underneath $20. They are totally fine, but meh.

For a 10 years, BottleRock has been an once-a-year highlight, with new dining establishments popping up and menus reflecting the innovation and farm-contemporary regional foods Wine Place is identified for. Every single yr has been extra and far more remarkable, with new chefs and new places to eat placing their best feet ahead.

Maitake salad with chickpeas and burnt ends from Stateline Road Smokehouse at BottleRock 2023. (Heather Irwin)

Perhaps I’m jaded just after a decade of covering BottleRock, but fried rooster and barbecue definitely seem to be to be a common components. Not specifically enjoyable, but it appears to be the ideal combine of familiar, gut-filling and priced moderately.

It is a natural development as the function becomes more obtainable to bigger crowds. Complex food items that requires tweezers and plating isn’t festival foodstuff, admittedly.

The foodstuff choices at BottleRock will generally be new music to my ears for the reason that Wine Place just is aware how to take in. But I obstacle the cooks to stay tuned into their creativeness.

Listed here are some stable bets due to the fact you are likely to get hungry.

1. Compline, Duck Body fat Fries, $14: I’m not absolutely sure if fries cooked in duck extra fat are all that a great deal far better, but these are unquestionably some exceptional fries if you’re hankering for a very little greasy goodness. The Togarishi aioli served with them is amazing.

2. Tarla, Rooster Pita Gyro, $18: This is certainly the ideal worth I’ve discovered. It’s a massive, meaty gyro with shredded lettuce, onions and garlic sauce. Easily sharable. The frozen lemonade is a wonderful thirst quencher.

3. Stateline Highway Smokehouse, Maitake Mushroom Salad ($18): I preferred this to be a stable earn for the significantly-predicted Napa cafe from Michelin-trained chef and Kansas Town indigenous Darryl Bell. Unfortunately, the Kansas Metropolis burnt ends ended up dry and the sauce was not extremely flavorful. The salad ($18) was the most effective guess, with a citrusy dressing, chickpeas and a refreshing mix of greens.

4. Gerard’s Paella, $24: Community chef Gerard Nebesky travels the festival circuit, giving significantly-essential gasoline for the hungry masses. His significant plates of paella are rib-sticking and continue to a amazing worth.

5. Buckhorn BBQ, Garlicky Pulled Pork Sandwich, $18: A soft roll stuffed with tender pulled pork will hold you rocking for hours. A several pumps of their sweet sauce make this the barbecue I’m soon after.

6. Push, Ideal in Demonstrate, Ahi Tuna Nachos, $22: For the cost and the substances, I’d connect with this a shareable benefit. Fresh new tuna, fermented peppers, radishes and black lime chips with a drizzle of crema were being a favorite of the day. Do not buy the buttered pretzel. For $5, of course. For $15? Nope.

The VIP region features some increased-stop choices that include wooden-fired pizza and higher-small corn canine with caviar. Of every little thing we tried out, the poke nachos ($20) had been the most interesting.

Masahuru Morimoto’s new Asia Napa cafe is represented, but the gummy dim sum samplers underwhelmed. The restaurant stall also delivers an 8-ounce container of orange hen ($24). Genuinely. Orange chicken.

Mustard’s, Gerard’s Paella and Tarla have recurring menus inside of the VIP space.

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