|The about-to-be leek and green garlic soup...|
For a belated Mother's Day lunch, my mom and I went to Etoile, on the edge of Yountville, where we enjoyed the leek and green garlic soup, tuna tartare, and muscat-scented sparkling wine from Etoile's vineyards (Domain Chandon). It is not difficult to understand how Etoile was awarded a Michelin-star this year. The food was not only superb, but so beautiful that we had to admire it for a while before digging in.
The tuna tartar had a light touch in flavor. But the fish was so fresh that it would have been a shame to cover it up. It was adorned with fuzzy green almonds (that is what the server called those three oval green and white slivers) and a touch of olive tapenade (the brown beneath those round pearl-like things--which were cucumber).
Creativity, artistry and exceptional taste quotient surely go into Etoile's excellent ratings. Service was attentive but perhaps overly so as we were asked at least three times if we were still working on our soups when one of us was. The place does need to be renovated, however. It has a nice patio, and many tables inside have a nice view of it. But the restaurant is clearly worn down from age (just look at it's carpet and soiled chairs--not so bad that you can't ignore it but still...). On this Thursday afternoon at around noon, large parties of diners filled tables outside, but many inside were open, giving my mom and me a lovely view with privacy.
The dessert menu looked sinfully good. But since we were just at the start of our Wine Country eating marathon, with Bouchon Bakery on tap, we decided to skip it.
In short, Etoile certainly shines but could be even more brilliant.