This is the second post in my Taste of Napa series.
From the Welcome Center, we headed down the street to Zuzu for a tapas lunch. Serving traditional tapas with a California twist, the restaurant offers diners food inspired by the cuisines of Spain, Portugal, and the Mediterranean. We were led upstairs to a beautiful loft space that had both a modern and rustic vibe to it and were seated at a long wooden table that provided us a view of Veterans Memorial Park with the Napa River just beyond it.
We kicked off our lunch in celebratory style with bottomless glasses of Sangria ($6 per glass | $28 per carafe), affectionately referred to as Zuzu's House Blend Wine. Refreshing and sweet, this was some of the best sangria I've ever had, and I had to remind myself that it was only lunchtime. More than two glasses would have been excessive!
Once our glasses were full, the kitchen began bringing out a selection of their cold and hot tapas, starting with their Seasoned and Toasted Almonds ($4) and Mediterranean Olives ($4). The almonds were absolutely addictive, and it didn't take long for us to get to the bottom of those bowls.
What followed turned out to be one of my favorite dishes of the entire meal -- Citrus-Marinated Flounder Ceviche with Jicama, Avocado, and Housemade Tortilla Chips ($9). The flounder was fresh and bright thanks to the citrus juice, and the jicama provided a crunchy contrasting texture to the smooth and buttery texture of the avocado. I simply couldn't get enough.
I also enjoyed the Shaved Artichoke-Portobello Salad with Arugula, Lemon-Truffle Vinaigrette ($8). The vinaigrette added a brightness and a richness to the peppery arugula and meaty portobello mushrooms that was really pleasant.
When the Red Quinoa Salad with Smoked Duck Breast, Dried Figs, and a Pistachio Vinaigrette ($10) came out, we knew we were in for something special. Despite the small serving, the duck and the figs gave a deep flavor and substance to the salad. The quinoa would have made a perfect lunch all on its own, with an extra scoop or two, of course.
At this point, we were starting to get full, but the kitchen insisted on sending out some more of their signature dishes for us to try, including their Paella del Dia with Spanish Bomba Rice ($10 per person). On this particular occasion, the paella was full of fresh seafood and smoky chorizo that brought life and personality to the underlying layer of silky rice.
Then came the Chilaquiles with Braised Pork and Poached Egg featuring, once again, the Housemade Tortilla Chips. The pork was tender and flavorful and was elevated to a whole new level by the pairing of the creamy egg yolk and crispy chips.
We should have stopped there, but someone (ahem, me) suggested that we also try the Flat-Iron Steak with Roasted Jalapeno Chimichurri ($12). The steak was tender, well-seasoned, and grilled to perfection, and I loved the subtle heat of the chimichurri sauce.
While I'm glad I encouraged everyone to try the steak, doing so meant that we didn't have much room for the Tres Leches Cake with Caramelized Bananas that came out to close the meal. In fact, I could only muster up the strength to have one bite. But what a bite it was! The cake was moist and creamy and the caramelized bananas added a bitter sweetness that balanced the decadence of the dessert.
829 Main Street
Napa, CA 94559
(707) 224-8555 | Map
For more from my Taste of Napa series, see:
Taste As You Go Disclaimer: I was provided with the opportunity to travel to Napa on this press trip at no cost to me. I did not accept monetary compensation for writing about the trip or about my experiences while in Napa. All opinions expressed are my own.