Rutherford

Best For: Ribs, Grilled Artichokes, a celebration meal

This restaurant was not a new experience, but rather, an old favorite revisited.  Even though, I don’t think I know a single local who hasn’t tried this place, I thought I’d go ahead and write my review in case I have a visiting friend who’s checking out my blog.

The thing I love about Rutherford is the consistency.  I have never once eaten there and been disappointed.  This was the go-to spot on my visits home, and year after year, it was still just as good as I remembered it.

You will definitely have to wait for a table (no resos here), but it’s worth the wait.  Your wait can be enjoyable if you grab a glass of wine and sit on their patio.  Plenty of sunny tables in the summer, and a nice fireplace in the winter.

Once you’ve been seated, do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave this place without ordering the Grilled Artichoke to start.  Many times I have been tempted to just order several of them as my main course.  They are steamed perfectly every time and then finished off in the woodfire oven, giving them a nice smoky taste.  The dipping sauce comprised of mayo, horseradish, herbs, lemon juice, and other delectable ingredients is nothing short of Heaven.

As I’ve been here many times, I could write a ridiculously long blog on each of the dishes I’ve had, but I’ll just mention a few favorites.

Generally speaking, I am not a pork fan, but I cannot get past the incredible woodfired ribs!  They literally fall off the bone as you’re eating them and they are smothered in a smoky sweet barbecue sauce that will put you off Heinz forever.  Sometimes, as a special, they will offer woodfired chicken alongside a half-rack of ribs, and when they do, you MUST choose it!

I’m also a HUGE fan of their housemade Veggie Burgers.  They are gigantic, well-seasoned, and a nice texture.  It’s surprising how hard it is to find a good veggie burger, but Rutherford nails it.

Finally, although I could go on and on, I have to mention the French Dip Sandwich.  I have yet to find any other French Dip that I enjoyed.  This one is piled high with tender, flavorful meat.  It’s served with both Horseradish and housemade Aus Jus for dipping and even when you hit your stuffed point, you’ll want to keep eating!

Other family favorites include; the Enchiladas, the Prime Rib, the Veggie Platter, and the Cornbread.

The wine list is extensive, and I believe one of the best in the Valley for by-the-glass choices.

The nice thing about Rutherford is that you can look at the menu, pick whatever sounds good, and be guaranteed an outstanding meal.

So whether you’re a local going to re-visit, or a visitor going for the first time, please don’t forget to contact me and I’ll meet you there! 🙂

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Eiko’s

Best For: Sushi Rolls & a Drink

I’ll admit that it wasn’t the first new restuarant I ran to try upon returning home; but Eiko’s is decidely one of my new favorites!

My first visit was with my hubby and grandmother, so we sat a lovely table by the window and went for a sampling of the various menu sections.  We started with the house made Beef Gyoza, the Spicy Edamame, and the Healthy Fries.  The Gyoza were fantastic, perfectly cooked with a mild flavor.  The “healthy” fries are only slightly healthier than the original, but you can feel good ordering them as they are tempura Green Beans.  These too were spot on.  The tempura batter was light and crisp, and not at all greasy (which is usually what turns me off of tempura dishes).  I love Edamame,  but thought the “Spicy” descriptor wasn’t quite acurate.  (I will admit that my spice radar might be a bit higher than most, as I put chili flakes and hot sauce on most of my dishes at home.) A bit more spice, and perhaps some sea salt would have made this dish perfect.

So the meal started out right, but the true deliciousness was to follow.  For my main, I ordered one of their Signature rolls called the “Tsunami.”  Similar to a California roll, it has crab and avocado, but what gives it its unqiue richness is the slice of scallop, slice of jalapeno, and a to-die-for creamy sauce on the top of each slice!  It was the most delicious sushi roll I have ever eaten.  The only issue I had, was figuring out how to eat it.  It was double the size of a normal sushi slice, so putting the whole thing in my mouth at once was out of the question.  I ended up having to break it up with my chopsticks and eat it in pieces.  Not the most attractive way to do it, but a necessary sacrifice.  This set-back however, did not deter me from ordering it again when I returned, a week later.

Grandma enjoyed the Bento Tempura Dinner, but only made it about half way through as the portion was so generous.  My husband had a couple of Nigri Sushi rolls, neither of which he LOVED, but said they were good.  The highlight for him was the ridiculously cheap house Pale Ale.  At $3 a glass, I don’t think you can find a cheaper beer in downtown Napa.

Besides the sushi, the thing that keeps me coming back is the incredible bar area.  With large couches, plush chairs and several fireplaces, it is the perfect place to meet up for sushi and cocktails.  My BFF and I sat at a cozy table for two right next to one of the fireplaces and found it to be the perfect venue for a long chat and a drink.  You can order the full menu in the bar area, but I would highly recommend using it as a place for a couple sushi rolls and a drink.  In fact, the service I received in the bar area was much better than the service in the main restuarant.

Another great bonus that I’ve just discovered is their ‘Locals Club.’  You simply sign up on their website and they send you a club card that allows you 10% off all food Sunday – Wednesday!  Join here: http://www.eikosnapa.com/locals_club.html

With the delicious food, and fantastic atmosphere, I have a feeling Eiko’s is going to be around for a while….

Try it out, and let me know what you think!

http://www.eikosnapa.com/index.html