Sunday, December 28, Day 2: Part 4
Here’s the introduction to our wonderful meal at Napa Rose, written by Rich.
The Chef: Andrew Sutton
Prior to Napa Rose, Sutton spent seven years as executive chef at the Ivy Award-winning Auberge du Soleil, Napa Valley. This was after five years with Dean Fearing at the Five-Star, Five-Diamond award-winning Mansion on Turtle Creek in his hometown of Dallas.
The Ratings: Zagat Best of Orange County for the last 5 years. Travel expert Samantha Brown’s favorite Disney’s restaurant.
Wow, wow, wow. What else can I say? Words escape me. This was one of the most incredible meals ever! The food, the service, the ambience – all wonderful!
Having said that, I will tell you how the night started out on the wrong foot but eventually got righted. We arrived about a half hour early for our 7:30 p.m. PS. We waited for about 10 minutes in the lovely lounge until we were invited to be seated. We were led to a table for two in the back corner by a window.
As we approached, the mother who was seated with her family of five at the table nearby saw us coming, jumped up, and said “Wait, before you sit down, I have to retrieve something.” And with that, she crawled under the table we were headed for and pulled out her young son who was hiding there.
We smiled and joked with them as we sat down, hoping that would be the end of it. However, the young boy quickly jumped up again, ran around the restaurant without supervision, and soon was crawling under our table again while we sat there. The parents seemed to think it was cute, but we were annoyed beyond belief. That was enough for us. As our server approached, we asked to be seated at another table.
The staff was very gracious and led us back to the lounge for another 10-minute wait for an open table. Thankfully, our second table was in an even a better location, near the big window overlooking DCA. Everyone on the staff was joking with us throughout the night about the incident, and they made up for the problem (which they did not cause) in many wonderful ways.
Our server was Al from Riverside, and he was fantastic. He is also a master sommelier. He apologized for our inconvenience, and then described some specials as well as the Vintner’s Table tasting menu with the optional wine pairings. The main menu changes four times a year (once for every season), and the Vintner’s Table menu changes every Friday. After looking over the menu, we decided to go for the Vintner’s Table with the wine pairings.
NOTE: Just a note before we go through the menu with our comments. You will notice that for the first two courses, we each had different items. This is because I am allergic to certain shellfish. When we let Al know this, he received the OK from the chef, and two substitutions were made.
Adding my comments (rant) to this part of the Napa Rose experience:
There was no way I was going to put up with somebody’s child hiding under our table while dining at Napa Rose. We had been looking forward to this meal for too long and were going to spend too much money not to have a superb experience.
We smiled the first time the child was under our table, but by the second time, I was really fed up (muttering my displeasure), but the husband just sat there doing nothing and grinning. The older child was the one who went to get the little one out from under our table. Only then did the mother react. Perhaps they were only dining at Napa Rose with their 3 kids who obviously weren’t up to it because Storyteller’s Cafe had such a huge wait. Perhaps the staff there said they could get in sooner at Napa Rose. It was Christmas and such a popular time for families to be out, so this situation may not even occur during less busy family-oriented times of the year. But other families chose to eat in the adjoining Lounge – and maybe they should have, too.
While waiting for our table in the Lounge, we saw the mom putting the youngest in the stroller parked in the entry, hurrying to get out of there. So, I’m sure she was uncomfortable with the whole situation. Perhaps it was her husband who insisted on the meal since he seemed the least bothered by the whole thing. We were asked if we wanted to return to our original table since they were leaving, but the husband was still sitting there and we chose not to return to that table.
But at our next table, the family sitting next to us was a delight. The parents obviously spent a lot of time and effort training their children to know how to behave in public, even though you could see the boys were really tired. True, these kids were older, but you could tell the parents were involved with instructing them. We overheard the dad teaching the younger son all about tea and wine and they discussed college choices with the older kid. It was a joy to see parents so involved with their kids’ lives.
BTW, we only saw 2 people in Napa Rose wearing jeans – and one of them was the mother of the misbehaving kid.
Okay, rant over. The service was superb, and it was fun joking about the possibility of other kids crawling under our new table. The staff handled it all so well, and we really appreciated that.
Next: Let the dining begin.