Brunch at Solbar at Solage Spa, Calistoga
Brunch at Solbar
By Ashok Khanna
Also posted on bestofsfbayarea.com
Silverado Trail is one of the two main “routes du vin” in Napa Valley. It’s not as well known as St. Helena Highway (Route 29), but along its 30 miles, some 200 wineries produce world-class wines. Notable among them are Stags Leap Wine Cellars, and not far off the trail, Chateau Montelena, labels that put California wine on the map by winning best red and white wine respectively in the “Judgement of Paris” in 1976.
On the Saturday I drove up with a friend on a wine-tasting outing, the weather changed constantly, from squalls of heavy rain to sunshine to drizzle and, a blanket of light mist covered the valley here and there. The varying shades of light on vines and trees, already showing a range of Fall colors, created a moving tapestry.
Solbar is the Michelin starred restaurant in Solage, a resort hotel surrounded by mountain ranges in the valley near Calistoga.
It is a large, high-ceilinged room with eclectic seating arrangements–sections for a bar, high tables and chairs, sofas, and normal tables and chairs. The outside patio, shaded by trees, was not in use for our visit, but can seat almost as many as the inside.
Executive Chef Brandon Sharp has worked at Gary Danko in San Francisco and the French Laundry in Yountville. He has a passion for using fresh, exciting ingredients. Paul Lemieux, the Pastry Chef at Auberge du Soleil, oversees Solbar’s pastry menu.
Solbar’s brunch menu had ten starters and nine main courses. My companion ordered the seared Yellowfin tuna burger in a fresh steamed bun and a bowl of Kim Chi marinated tofu and edamame salad. The light bun did not influence the taste of the tuna patty, which was tender and delicious, and the salad had an unusual palate-cleansing tang.
I had the Petrale Sole tacos with sweet and sour cabbage, cilantro and spicy aioli on warm tortillas made with a blend of corn and wheat. The substantial chunks of deep-fried fish were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, their taste enhanced by the cabbage and especially the aioli, which was spicy enough not to need the extra chili provided. The tortilla wraps were uncommonly delicious too.
We shared a cheesecake made from a locally produced fromage blanc , with figs, a crushed graham cracker and raspberry sauce. Unlike most cheesecakes I have had, it was light as air with the other condiments blending nicely to augment the experience.
755 Silverado Trail N, Calistoga CA 94515
Parking is readily available in the resort premises.