Adventures in Dining

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Ubuntu, April 4, 2010 May 21, 2011

Filed under: California Wine Country — hpandaw @ 8:09 pm

Our dinner this evening was at Ubuntu in Napa, a vegetarian restaurant.  This was such a nice, light, refreshing place, after eating out so much.  It was lovely to be able to go into a restaurant and ask the server to choose some selections and bring them out, because I could eat everything on the menu!  Our server thought it was so much fun that we asked her to choose the dishes for us.  The concept is small plates, so we told her to choose four dishes.  Our first dish was our favorite of the evening, the calcot and lemongrass curry, chard condimento and pickles, picadura nettles, whipped coconut, preserved lemon.  This was delicious, so creamy and yet refreshing.  There were these lovely minty green dollops at the bottom of the soup that we’d hit while eating, and that really added more depth and nuances to the dish.  We both really enjoyed this.
Our second dish was the warm spring onion jam-glazed doughnut stuffed with cool burrata, crispy fried shallots, peppery greens, and agretti.  This was pretty good, though it would have been better if the doughnut had been warm.  Since it was cold, we both thought that it tasted like it had maybe been sitting out for a while, rather than the temperature being the chef’s intention.  The warm onion jam was excellent with the greens – they were very lightly dressed, and were so delicious.
Our third dish was a disappointment.  We’d just had a greens-heavy dish, and here came another, except these greens didn’t seem to have any dressing on them.  This was the carta da musica, homemade crispy Sardinian flatbread, today’s leaves barely dressed, truffled pecorino, and orielles.  This dish just never seemed to come together.  It was basically a very thin, very crispy, very flavorful cracker, with a giant pile of greens on it.  There was no good way to incorporate all of these ingredients into one bite, since the flatbread immediately cracked and crumbled into shards.  The pecorino was very, very salty, and my husband hated it.  He asked me to take one for the team and eat the pecorino, since he couldn’t stand it.  Overall, this dish disappointed us.
Our final savory dish was horseradish gnocchi and “hakurei” turnips, truffle fonduta, hong vit, and smooth fava leaf.  It was very creamy and quite rich.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the horseradish gnocchi, since I don’t do well with heat, but these were very faintly spicy and were much milder than I thought.  I loved the turnips; these were lighter than the gnocchi, but were very tender and picked up the lovely flavors of the fonduta.
Our dessert was a fruit float, with tapioca, Meyer lemon mousse, and grapefruit sorbet.  It was the perfect way to end a dinner, not too light, and also not too sweet.  Very, very refreshing and lovely.

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