Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ubuntu: Uber-refined Vegetarian Mecca

If marriages were between people and restaurants, I would be wildly pursuing Ubuntu. Ubuntu is not only ultra cool, but good for me too.

As a person Ubuntu would be a soft-spoken intellectual whose uniform was jeans and a black t-shirt...and a beanie in the winter.   He'd be one of those few dudes in yoga class who is also interested in cooking, whose hair shags below his ears.  Read: a caricature of a Northern California dude.

The Last Supper of my divine 48-hour Napa Valley trip was appropriately at Ubuntu.

I was last here 15 months ago, right before the chef changed. I thought it was awesome. (Click here for the review.) The place continues to be otherworldly.  Ubuntu chefs are masters of combining flavors and making their productions look like artists' canvases.
Slow roasted chioggia beets (yes, those fleshy tuna colored chunks)
As faint silhouettes of yoginis darted around in the yoga studio above (visible from the restaurant), I enjoyed beets that looked like sashimi, opaque paperthin leaves, and  broccoli, which was unsuspectingly bursting with flavor. 
"Warm foccacia with truffled pecorino from Florence and apricot/almond agrodolce"
While the beets were gorgeous and tasty, the foccacia, delicately tangy and sweet, was extraordinary.  We ordered it with the optional poached egg.  I could talk about this dish for a while, except I would keep repeating the same adjectives: incredible, amazing, delicious...

Ubuntu also sells t-shirts and garb, which I would never wear. But how I look forward to another date with the restaurant. 

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