We sat on the patio on this visit and while the first view was the construction site right beside Angele, the next level of view was the Napa River and the Napa Valley Wine Train station yard. It was an extremely windy day and that makes any outdoor eating more challenging but the waitstaff was vigilant and careful to keep glasses filled and to remove empty ones. If given the choice again I would choose an inside table as currently the patio ambiance is lower because of the rough construction area around it.
Our experience was similar to our October, 2006 visit. Angèle is a pleasant spot for a French-style lunch and could be a lovely romantic dinner. We were not romanced by the food on this visit, but we will visit again.
What we had:
Oysters on the Half Shell
Nicely presented. Fresh.
Homard Fricasse: Potato Gnocchi, Maine Lobster, Spring Vegetables and Lobster Sauce
Lobster and gnocchi in a lobster sauce with peas and asparagus. The gnocchi were not quite fluffy enough and seasoning for the dish was heavy handed on the salt, causing the nuances of the lobster and the vegetables to get lost in the dish (despite their being actual pieces of lobster in the dish). On a different night this might be wonderful but based on this experience it's a pass.
Omelette of the Day - Crab Salad
Served with a huge salad of nice looking greens in a benign dressing of mostly oil and salt. The Omelette was on the heavier side with lots of nicely picked crab inside. There was just no zing in this dish. The lettuce was so boring (albeit perfect leaves) I just couldn't eat it all.
Duck Confit with Lentil & Frisee Salad, Bacon Vinaigrette
Very crispy skin and very meaty leg. Leg meat was succulent with a nice flavor. The lentils were mixed with the sauce and lost in the frisee.
Flétan Pôele de Legumes, Halibut with Snap Peas, English Pea Sprouts and Proscuitto Sauce
Good. Jack didn't complain but didn't sing praises either. I liked the foamy Proscuitto Sauce presentation.
Tarte TatinClassic Apple Tart with Crème Fraîche
A twist on the expected. A puff pastry base cradled a 1/2 of a peeled and cored and nicely cooked apple. A good balance of caramel sauce and whipped creme fraiche to garnish. Nice but if you were expecting a more tarte tatin with slices of apple this might have been a disappointment. Good balance made it good but not fabulous.
Sorbet & Gelato
Peach was the sorbet selection today. Tasters had a hard time with it - thinking it less peach-y than apricot-y. I think it was heavier on the sugar than it needed to be and the peaches just weren't up the challenge. There was also a massive amount of it served with an accompanying sugar cookie. The Chocolate Gelato was good but did not win our hearts.
A small and pleasant spot along the Napa River makes Angele an excellent lunch choice, albeit not an inexpensive one. Overall we enjoyed our lunch very much and would like to return soon. We would recommend Angèle to Napa visitors.
The ambiance inside makes me think it would be slightly romantic in the evening. The inside dining room is fancy bistro style with white tablecloths and bentwood chairs. The outside patio looks like a lovely place to sit, but it was closed on our visit. The service we had was wonderful. The waiter was extremely sensitive to the young dinner we had with us, timing courses to my request. The maitre d’ offered crayons. The table was paper topped making a big drawing board available.
The food was consistently well made, nicely plated and well conceived. Chef de Cuisine Tripp Mauldlin obviously has the kitchen well in hand. The menu has lots of great choices. I neglected to bring a camera on this visit - but I will take one next time!
Bread was Acme's sweet baguette and it was hard to stop eating it.
What we had:
Soupe de Jour: Roasted Tomato
Served in a good sized small tureen piping hot – actually too hot to eat. A drizzle of basil oil. Finely pureed so it made it creamy but no cream or oil added. Very tart and nice. Yum.
Foie Gras Torchon: Apricot Marmalade, Mâche and Walnut Salad, Brioche
Coated in cracked pepper the torchon was fresh. The accompaniments were great including crisp thick slices of brioche.
Galette de Tomates: Heirloom Tomato Galette, La Tur Cheese, Extra Virgin Olive Oil
While I loved the Tur cheese paired with the tomatoes and flavors were great the tomatoes had so much juice they leaked over the plate making it hard to eat and the galette crust wasn’t quite right with the topping.
Magret de Canard: Duck Breast with Roasted Figs, Baby Turnips and Duck Jus
Really flavorful duck. Not too chewy. Some cripness on the skin. The perfect turnips and halved figs were a great accompaniment. Figs should have been destemmed though. Recommended
Noisette D'Agneau: Colorado Lamb Sirloin, Italian Butter Beans, Feta, Oregano, Lamb Jus
The butter beans were wonderful with the tender lamb. Pieces of succulent lamb shoulder mixed in with them made the dish extra special.
Sandwich Du Jour: Turkey and cheddar on a baguette with a side salad
Served with slices of tomato and leaves of butter lettuce. The turkey was a bit dry and as a result the sandwich was a bit on the dry side. There was a smear of dressing across the baguette but you needed firm teeth to get a bite of the sandwich. The cheddar was on the milder side. The salad took up a lot of the plate space making the sandwich hard to eat but we asked for a plate and one was immediately presented. The mixed greens were nicely dressed with more of a vinegar ratio than usual.
Served with ketchup and mayonnaise.
Crisp and tiny pieces of skin remaining make them look hand cut. Good balance. Average thickness (i.e., not thin).
Fresh Squeezed Lemonade was on the sweeter side but great.
2002 Frédéric Magnien Savigny-lès-Beaune was bright and fruity. It needed a lot of opening time but we unfortunately didn’t have it. Good acids made it great with the food. But the character didn’t surface during our meal.
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.