An Austrian White at a Napa Chef’s New Spot

Laurenz Five Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Niederösterreich Laurenz und Anna Sunny 2009
MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: July 12, 2011

Usually I’m wary of restaurant menus that take on multi-ethnic food. In my experience, they are unnecessarily ambitious, with more hits than misses. But Kitchen Door, chef Todd Humphries’ recent addition to Oxbow Market in downtown Napa, does a multi-ethnic menu with style, and a few delicious meals there have kept me coming back to further explore the menu.

This is a restaurant where you can get a bowl of Vietnamese pho followed by freshly made churros for dessert. Most of the food is anchored in the wood-burning oven, rotisserie and grill, from which Korean short ribs, roast duck banh mi and flat breads hail. Other highlights I’ve found so far include delectable fried rice with bacon and a dish of perfectly roasted shisito peppers. Mushrooms—a trademark of Humphries when he was at now-closed Martini House—make a strong appearance here, with a cream of mushroom soup and a candy cap mushroom bread pudding that is now on my list of dishes I crave.

The wine list is equally eclectic, with an assortment of about eight wines on tap, and those, as well as the 20 wines in bottle, are served by the glass and 1/2 liter—a system I completely endorse.

I was at Kitchen Door for lunch recently with a friend and decided on a glass of a Grüner Veltliner listed simply as Laurenz V 2009 ($9 a glass). It was perfectly crisp, with green apple, white pepper, citrus notes and a juicy pear finish. I rated it 87 points, non-blind.

Of all the assorted foods we ate that day, I was blown away by how well my white wine paired with the “Alsatian” flat bread, with ham, onions, gruyère cheese, watercress and frisée. The Grüner made the dish come alive—the cheese was more flavorful, the ham saltier, and the watercress tasted like the freshest greens I’ve ever had. That’s a pairing I’ll be trying again.

Kitchen Door
610 First St., No. 24, Oxbow Market, Napa, Calif. 94559
Telephone: (707) 226-1560
Website: www.kitchendoornapa.com

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Laurenz Five Grüner Veltliner Qualitätswein Trocken Niederösterreich Laurenz und Anna Sunny 2009 (87 points, $15).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more recently rated Top Values among Austrian whites.

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