A few weeks ago when we were in Napa for a weekend, we had to make a choice: where to have dinner on our single night in the area. This was a daunting choice for a foodie such as myself — I really hate it when you are in a foreign land (of any degree) and you have one chance to choose an awesome place to eat. And you choose somewhere crappy and you’re sad about it. Granted, this can often not be avoided, but I like to hope for the best in my proverbial dice roll.
K and I wandered the Napa promenade on this brisk (read: freezing) February evening, peering in windows and reading displayed menus. We were evaluating a number of restaurants up and down the main drag for suitability (with the help of Yelp on my phone) when we stumbled upon Celadon. It looked promising. Modern decor in a converted warehouse-type setting, tucked away behind a hotel just off the riverbank. We decided.
We underestimated how crowded it was. We had to sit at the bar lest we be subjected to a heinous wait. Which is better than a heinous weight, mind you. We took our opportunity and got cozy at the bar as all the pacing back and forth looking for the “perfect” restaurant had pushed our mealtime late into the evening.
While the room from which we entered was a converted warehouse-type area with concrete floors, exposed, wood-framed roof and a somewhat stark, open interior, the back area is warmly lit, filled with cozy booths, and trimmed in light wood fixtures and furniture. It was an unexpected contrast, but both areas were nice.
At the bar we ordered a couple fancy schmancy drinks that we ordinarily would have passed on to avoid the extra ding on our bill. But we were on vacation and my aunt had generously donated a few bucks to our culinary efforts, so we splurged.
The menu was modern “American” fare with hints of Mediterranean and Asian flavors, and lots of things looked really good. The items we ordered were fabulous. See for yourself:
One of their specialties is “flash fried calamari with a spicy chipotle chili glaze and pickled ginger” which, whatever you may think of that description, was amazing. Tender calamari fried in a heavenly, flavorful batter and lightly covered in a shimmery coat of sauce that was a bit sweet and completely delicious, but didn’t take away from the crispiness of the dish. It was positively addicting.
A vegetarian main that they offer is “grilled polenta napoleon with garden vegetables, fresh mozzarella and balsamic glaze”, which really did not indicate that the meal would look like the stacked tower of yummies pictured. The veggies were well grilled and soft while the polenta went with them perfectly. There was just enough drizzled balsamic sauce to make your mouth water but not overwhelm.
Everything was fabulous and I was so happy that we found a fab vacation restaurant!