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Reviews of the finest restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area by Carol and Joe Davis - the Dining Detectives. From Sushi to Prime Rib, the Detectives dine their way across the spectum of fine food. ©2006 Carol and Joe Davis

Brix
Restaurant & Wine Shop
A Napa Valley Delight

There is nothing more beautiful than a ride through The Wine Country in the fall. The crush may be finished but the trees and vines display a multitude of rich fall colors complimenting the surrounding hillsides. Our short drive from Petaluma, led us to Highway 29 in The Napa Valley. The Valley is renowned as one of the finest wine growing regions in the entire world.

We made a stop prior to dining to attend an art show by David Maes Gallegos. His Cuisine Landscape Series was fantastic and captured the feeling of food and wine in the Napa Valley and Hawaii. We particularly liked his "Soupe Au Pistou Provencal- Napa Valley". This show was only a few miles north of our destination at the Robert Mondavi Winery. We enjoyed some wine and cheese to go along with the art and walked around the vineyards on this glorious fall afternoon.

We then headed south a few short miles to our destination this evening, Brix. We have dined at Brix a number of times and couldn’t wait to return. We found it the same beautiful environment with the view of the herb garden, vineyards and the Mayacamus Mountains. The interior was warm and inviting with a Mahogany Bar and tables that are arranged to take full advantage of the view. The lighting was especially gorgeous and changed as the sun set. The sunset was a fantastic vibrant red sky this night- a sailor’s delight.

As we entered Brix, we were immediately drawn into the beautifully merchandised Wine/Gift Shop. We met Amy Varner, the Gift/Wine Shop Manager, who showed us some great Napa Wines and some lovely gifts including wine accessories that would be perfect as holiday gifts.

We checked in with the hostess and were escorted to our table and greeted by Samantha, our server. Sam is from Sussex in England and made our evening quite enjoyable. She told us about the specials that included a seasonal dish, Roasted Pumpkin Soup and was soon off to bring us some San Pelligrino Sparkling Water, which is a favorite. Matt Guyot, the Dining Room Manager stopped by to welcome us as well.

Appetizers:

Roasted Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Balsamic-Fig Sauce, Asian Pear & Fine Herbs. -Magnificent! - This Hudson Valley goose liver was fresher and tastier than you normally find. Definitely have this as a starter.

Nori Crusted Ahi Tuna Sashimi with Umeboshi Cucumbers & Soy Wasabi Sauce. Fantastic- Ahi when prepared perfectly like this is also a must!

Mushroom Spring Rolls with Spicy Soy Vinegar & Marinated Enoki Mushrooms- Excellent texture, light and terrific sauce.

Salads:

Roasted Chioggia Beets with Carmelized Belgian Endive, Crisp Ginger & Walnut Vinaigrette. This salad was truly unique and just wonderful! We highly recommend it!

Warm Frisee-Beluga Lentil Salad with Soy Vinaigrette & Hobbs Bacon. Great dressing.

Soup
Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Crème Fresh, Cress and Garden Herbs. A true Seasonal Delight.

Entrées:

Grilled Rib-Eye with Red Curry, Potato-Raclette Gratin & Preserved Fennel. This was cooked medium-rare as ordered and was tasty and tender.

Slow Cooked Lamb Shank with Potato Puree, Saffron & Caramelized Onions- Super! The lamb fell off the bone and the sauce was great.

Thick Cut Pork Chop with Cider-Thyme Reduction, Turnip Puree & Fuji Apple Chutney- Succulent and scrumptious.

Desserts:

Warm Banana Chocolate Crisp ala mode- A fight broke out when one dining detective was asked to share. Terrific dessert. Better order two.

Buttered Apple & Pear Strudel- Perfect, we loved it.

Vanilla Thai Crème Brulee- We can’t get enough Crème Brulee especially when it is prepared this well.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Butterscotch Pralines & Chocolate- a Seasonal Delight.

Pastry Chef Les Carmona has done a great job with presentation and tastes without trying to be too cutesy. The Dessert Menu includes after dinner drinks to pair with each dessert. We particularly enjoyed the Grgich Hills Violetta 1995.

Wines-

We chose a few white wines by the glass. The Wine list is quite extensive offering a great selection of half bottles, full bottles and wines by the glass with a large sampling of the best local wineries. In fact, Brix offers some "better" wines by the glass as they realize that customers will spend more to get a finer wine by the glass.
We tasted and enjoyed these white wines-
Frank Rombauer Larkmead Cellars Chardonnay, Napa Valley 1999
Robert Pepi " Two Heart Canopy" Sauvignon Blanc 1998

With dinner we enjoyed a bottle of Tay Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 that was sent over to our table by Amy Varner, the Wine Shop Manager. This Cabernet was a great choice, rich, full bodied and ready to drink and is also available in the wine shop.

Other Favorite Wines on List included:

Cakebread 1998 Sauvignon Blanc
Robert Mondavi Reserve 1996 Chardonnay
Frog’s Leap 1997 Zinfandel
Groth 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon
Acacia, Carneros 1998 Pinot Noir

Brix has been a fine dining favorite of ours for almost 5 years now. The warm décor, wine country atmosphere and excellent food prepared by Chef John Wabeck and his able staff, can only be called the best Napa Valley has to offer. Chef Wabeck believes in creating healthful and flavorful cuisine that challenges the palate without over complicating the experience. The herbs are grown in the Brix garden and he uses the freshest local produce of the season. Lunch, dinner or an afternoon on the patio sipping wine overlooking the vineyards is hard to beat. The only way to fully enjoy The Napa Valley is to make Brix a part of your day. This is a must stop before during or after visiting wineries in the one of the greatest wine growing region in the world.

Brix

7377 St Helena Highway
(Hwy. 29)
Napa, Ca.94558

707-944-2749
www.brix.com

Open
Sunday- Thursday
11:30 AM- 9: 30 PM
Friday- Saturday
11:30 AM- 10:00 PM

Major Credit Cards Accepted
Reservations Recommended
Private Rooms Available
Cottage seats 30

Patio Dining (Seasonal)
Ample Free Parking

Gift/ Wine Shop

No Cellular Phones