Sunday, May 17, 2009

Napa - Ubuntu

When I found out I could not get a reservation at The French Laundry, I had to look for an alternative dining location around Napa and was utterly convinced to try Ubuntu, touted to be the best vegetarian restaurant ever. Honestly, I couldn't wait! But I was secretly afraid my friend would protest. God bless her, she was so accommodating throughout my trip and with my foodie obsession.

Anyway, there was absolutely no regrets whatsoever because I tasted THE BEST PEAS IN MY LIFE. These jade green seeds popped in my mouth and they tasted so clean you can taste the natural juices and sweetness.

"Hmm, I want to bring a whole bowl home!" I remembered that thought running through my ahead. That followed by "No more frozen peas for me. No more canned mushy peas for me. No more, no more, no more!"

The second course was "raw, roasted, pureed", or how Ubuntu glorified the boring white cauliflower. In the little Staub casserole laid cauliflower cooked three ways. At the bottom, almost 3/4 of the pan, was roasted cauliflower together with whole garlic. The roasting caramelized the vegetables and enhanced it with a deep, smokey flavour. That was followed by a pureed layer, creamy and rich because gruyere cheese was mixed into it. Then, whimsicle raw cauliflower trees decorated the top. Stab the spoon into the pot and smear the vegetables over buttered toast. Yums!
Dessert was a "vanilla bean cheesecake". Full cream yogurt, thick and slightly sour lined the bottom of the container. Then, digestive cookie crumbs, and cooked sour cherries filled the middle. Whipped cream cheese topped the whole thing off. The honey tuile on the sides were also nice and crispy. We really enjoyed this light but satisfying dessert.

Is Ubuntu the greatest vegetarian restaurant ever? I don't know if I can make that statement. There is absolutely nothing pretentious - no fancy presentations, foams or molecular cooking. Ubuntu is nothing but fresh vegetables cooked simply to bring out their natural flavours. I loved the food there and sure beats all the other veggie restaurants I have tried so far.

1140 Main Street

Napa, California 94559
Seven days a week:
M-Th: 5:30pm - 9pm
Fr-Su: 11:30 - 2:30pm and
5:30pm - 10p (9p Sundays)
Tel: 707.251.5656


Dave said...

Was very curious about the place after reading about it in the Times. Thanks for the peek! Did you go do yoga upstairs later?

ChuckEats said...

Ubuntu can be one of the best restaurants in the US, not just vegetarian. Looks like you ordered a la carte instead of opting for the tasting menu. The tasting menu gets more complex and higher-end. I have had 2 lunches recently and, once i post the reviews, i think people will be pretty surprised by the quality.