Posted May 2006
A Diner’s Journal
Brix Restaurant and Wine Shop
Brix is a restaurant that really deserves more attention. With
Napa Valley being such a wine and food-oriented destination,
those of us who live here sometimes focus on what’s new or unusual
and overlook the consistently good, solid, wine-friendly restaurants
such as Brix.
Brix has a lot to recommend it. It’s a pretty restaurant
with ample parking. It is one of very few places that offers
seasonal outdoor dining on a lovely patio. On cooler evenings,
the bar has a great area with comfy chairs and an inviting fireplace. Tables
and booths are spaced well enough to allow private conversation.
But it’s the food that I want to talk about. Appetizers
are varied and fairly priced. The crispy gingered shrimp
dumplings in a sweet soy glaze accompanied by chili oil ($10)
made a wonderful starter. The skin on the dumplings was
nicely thin and truly crispy. Too often this dish is ruined
by soggy, thick dough, but Brix does a great job. The butter
lettuce salad with Vella Jack cheese, smoked pecans and Champagne
vinaigrette ($9) was over-dressed for my taste, but the ingredients
were all fresh and tasty. Next time, I’ll request my dressing
on the side. Yes, it was good enough to have again, in
spite of too much dressing. The third appetizer at our
table was the seared Sonoma foie gras with roasted apple crepe
and a black pepper sauvignon blanc reduction ($16). A sigh
of contentment and a very clean plate seemed to indicate that
this dish was much enjoyed.
Entreés are generous and pleasing to the palate. The grilled
Colorado lamb rack ($36) was done perfectly. I couldn’t
resist the Prosciutto and sage stuffed chicken breast with mascarpone
white polenta, wild mushroom and truffle jus ($25). It
was delicious. The fettuccini with sautéed prawns ($23)
was good, and had plenty of shrimp, but could have used a bit
more garlic or herbs for my taste. Brix is a seasonal restaurant,
so the menu changes every few months and there are often specials. When
we last dined there, our waiter recommended the halibut. It
was well-presented and tasty, but I felt the fish was just a
bit overcooked. So if you like your fish on the less-done
side, as I do, be sure to let your server know.
7377 St. Helena Hwy.
Yountville, CA 94558
The service at Brix was excellent. Noting that we had
brought two bottles of pinot noir, our server promptly brought
us each two Burgundy glasses so that we could do a side by side
comparison. Brix has a superb wine list featuring many
hard-to-find Napa gems.
While we usually pass on desserts, the white chocolate cheesecake
($9) proved irresistible to my husband. The cheesecake
itself was wonderful, but the accompanying chocolate gelato added
nothing to the dish.
Brix also serves a lavish Sunday brunch ($23.95/adults, $13.95/children). It’s
the kind of walk-around, multi-station food extravaganza that
takes me back to my youth on the East coast. There’s a
salad area, eggs made to order and accompanied by the requisite
meats, eggs Benedict, a carving station, cheese and smoked meats,
beautiful Danish and beignets, pizzas from the wood-burning oven
and more pastries and desserts than I could count. Because
I try to avoid most carbohydrates, much of this splendid display
was lost on me. And with so many different dishes to manage,
not every one was a winner. However, the brunch proved
to be a real crowd-pleaser during a recent family gathering. We
hosted a group of eight people whose food preferences were not
known to us (turns out that two were vegetarians). With
a wide diversity of tastes and culinary sophistication, this
was the perfect group for the Brix Sunday brunch.
There’s one other unique thing about Brix – the restaurant has
a really nice gift and wine shop. Since eating and shopping
are two of my favorite things, it stands to reason that I would
like this place.
Having just had a very pleasant dinner at Brix, I don’t understand
why I don’t go there more often. This is about to change.