The story: Bistro Jeanty is an often-recommended restaurant in Napa Valley, having been around since 1997 and the reputation of Chef-Owner Philippe Jeanty, who was born in Champagne, France, and came to California in the late 1970s to cook in fine-dining restaurant Chandon. Over the years, other restaurants sprouted around Bistro Jeanty, but it continues to draw the wine country crowds and a Michelin star for the last three years.
Why I went: I’m catching up on this post from when I went to Bistro Jeanty in February with my friends Jason and Craig. We were doing a Saturday wine tasting in Napa Valley when we decided to find lunch. After looking at where we could get last-minute reservations, we ended up at Bistro Jeanty. I’d dine here many years ago when I first started visiting Napa (it’s one of the restaurants everyone goes to the first time they visit Napa Valley) and thought it was a solid experience. Does Bistro Jeanty live up to the test of time?
The vibe: We got to sit in the covered patio on a perfect day in wine country with the warm sun and a cool breeze. There was a definitely French wine country feel and the diners seemed like they were regulars who lived in the area. The crowd seem to skew the older side, so the vibe was quaint and serene.
The menu: Classic French bistro menu when many of the traditional dishes such as escargot, cassoulet, steak frites, duck confit and coq au vin. One of the popular items for many years is the tomato soup in puff pastry ($12), which Craig ordered. It’s popular both in presentation with the golden brown pastry top and the tasty tomato soup. There are daily specials, and Jason ordered the special tournedos, or beef tenderloin ($39). Prices can be high for the entrees, and you can expect to see lots of cheese and sauces on the plate.
The booze: There’s a wine list but Jason felt the prices seemed really high for wine by the glass, so we ended up ordering the pitcher of red house wine ($25), which tasted like what you’d expect from a house wine. We had better wine right before we arrived during our wine tasting.
My favorite dish: Like I said, the soup is popular and I had a special lobster bisque ($16) that had a beautiful light orange color and intense lobster flavor. It was broth-like, and I couldn’t keep from dipping my slices of bread into the bowl.
The last bite: Bistro Jeanty continues to charm wine country visitors, despite strong competitions from the likes of Ad Hoc, Bouchon Bistro and Redd Wood. The service is friendly and approachable, and while some of the larger dishes lack excitement, they deliver for solid French dining. You won’t learn anything new about wine country dining, but you’ll enjoy the ambiance.
The rating: 2 out of 4 camera snaps
The deets: Bistro Jeanty, 6510 Washington St., Yountville, Calif. PH: 707.944.0103. Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Reservations, major credit cards accepted. www.bistrojeanty.com
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