Auberge Du Soleil
180 180 Rutherford Hill Rd.
Rutherford, CA 94573
Overlord was the one to suggest Auberge, which a friend recommended to him. The Yelp reviews were glowing. I randomly met a fellow on the flight up to the Bay area who had only wonderful things to say about Auberge. From my cursory research, it seemed like Auberge epitomizes all that is charming and wonderful about the Napa Valley, great food with great views. On the weekends, they offer a $70 three course prix fixe. The meal includes your choice of a bellini, mimosa, kir royale, or straight champagne. So, I actually don’t think $70 is an unreasonable price. Overlord was a bit stunned at the price tag. Knowing that he has eaten at some pretty fancy places (Alinea, Eleven Madison Park, Providence, etc), I wouldn’t think $70 would cause so much sticker shock. I guess he’s just not used to spending that kind of dime on brunch.
The prix fixe starts with this lovely offering of muffins, house made pastries, and artisanal breads. I particularly enjoyed the scones, which I happily slathered in butter.
Potato Gnocchi wild mushrooms, pea shoots, parmesan nage
My first course was this OUTSTANDING gnocchi dish. Gnocchi can be quite heavy at times. It almost feels like it’s expanding in your stomach, but this wasn’t the case. The delightful potato pillows were submerged beneath a delicate umami packed broth, topped with shavings of cheese and surrounded by pan roasted mushrooms. It was an amazing dish considering there was no protein here.
Ahi Tuna Tartare wakame, cucumber, ginger dressing
The Annoyer and Overlord opted for the tuna tartare. It was delicate, fresh, and well balanced in flavor.
Half Dozen Oysters on the Half Shell ginger mignonette
Carnivorous Lush enjoyed fresh oysters.
Artichoke Risotto wild gulf shrimp, parmigiano reggiano, yuzu emulsion
My second course was another success. The flavors were light, but it was still creamy and satisfying. I think the yuzu emulsion helped balance the dish and keep it bright. I was expecting larger whole shrimps, but instead was faced with disappointing small pieces. Other than that, it was delicious.
Sautéed Sole sweet onions, chorizo, escarole, manila clams, pimentón nage
The waiter recommended the sole which was pan seared to perfection. The dish channeled a Spanish influence. The Annoyer approved of this.
Kurobuta Pork Chop ciopollini, whole grain mustard spätzle, swiss chard, apple cider
Overlord enjoyed his pork chop. I especially loved the spätzle. I think it’s quite rare to find great spätzle in America.
Main Lobster Omelet tarragon, leek, ricotta di bufala, crispy potatoes
Carnivorous Lush enjoyed her omelet. I LOVED the crispy potatoes.
Classic Apple Tart calvados caramel, vanilla bean ice cream
For our 3rd courses, I opted for the classic apple tart. It seriously does NOT look like much, but man was it delicious. The buttery flakey crust was just a tad warm. The apples were sweet yet tart. The caramel and ice cream rounded everything out. Really great for something seemingly simple.
Housemade Tanzania 70% Semifreddo passionfruit sorbet, vanilla custard
The juxtaposition of tart fruit flavors from the passionfruit sorbet actually paired really nicely with the deep dark chocolatey goodness of the semifreddo. I loved this!
Blood Orange Sorbet fennel seed chiffon, cream cheese mousse, anise streusel
Carnivorous Lush approved of her dessert, which was a really interesting array of fruit, cream, and spice.
I actually did not know Auberge du Soleil has 1 Michelin star in the 2016 guidebook. I can confidently say they really earned it. Heck, I would argue they deserve 2 stars. The food was impeccable. It was advertised as brunch, but most of our food could really have been enjoyed at dinner all the same. Everything was flavorful without being heavy or overwhelming. The service was on point. The ambiance wasn’t stuffy at all. We didn’t get a table with a view, but after our meal we went out to the balcony to take some pictures. The views were so calming.
I highly recommend Auberge du Soleil for whatever meal works best for you. I’m sure the dinner here is just as outstanding as the brunch we had. If you can’t eat here, I heard getting some drinks around sunset is another way to go. I can only imagine the beauty of the views at that time.
10 – You NEED to eat here
9 – Awesome
8 – Very good
7 – Good
6 – OK
5 – Average
4 – Not bad
3 – Not good
2 – Terrible
1 – Do NOT eat here