Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review October 2007
By “The Elusive Epicurean”
When my associate suggested the Lakeside Grill in Yountville, I was flummoxed. Huh? Yountville is not a large town, and I was certain I had eaten in every single one of its restaurants. Twice. So where was this mysterious Grill she spoke of? Sensing my confusion, she enlightened me: the Lakeside Grill is at the Vintner’s Golf Club. Oh.
I am no golfer. As popular as the sport may be, it involves the acquisition of activity-specific gear, early wake up calls, and the spectre of physical exertion. No, I am no golfer. However, once seated on the terrace overlooking a sparkling lake (complete with fountain and lazing swans) and perusing the rolling greenery of the course, I found myself wondering if perhaps the golfers had the right idea. But then my mimosa called, and I regained my focus.
Fortunately, you needn’t flash your PGA card to gain access to the view. If dining is your sport, you’re invited to enjoy the Grill’s casual, unfussy food while basking in the sun and admiring the spectacle of green, green grass melting into tree dotted hills with nary a building in sight.
We began with appetizers, and if you’ve been reading this column for any period of time, it will come as no surprise that when a platter of fried goodness is offered, it must be eaten. In this case, there were two, beginning with the Spicy Fried Calamari ($10), which was tossed with jalapeno and cilantro and served with a spicy aioli. And then there was the hit of the day: the Fried Artichokes and Prawns, served with spicy aioli and Ranch dressing ($11.95). The troops really rallied behind this one. “Tell them we loved the artichokes and prawns! Tell them!” they cried as the mimosas egged them on.
But one cannot live on fried appetizers alone. For my main course, I chose the Grilled Albacore Tuna Sandwich ($10.95), which was served on focaccia with more of the spicy aioli, and when it arrived I regretted having stuffed myself silly on appetizers.
My troops—Privates R and K, respectively—also opted for sandwiches. Private R chose the Ultimate Grilled Steak Sandwich, also known as top sirloin served with sautéed mushrooms on a sweet roll ($11.50). Our waiter told Private R that she would be his hero if she finished the whole thing, but I must report that she left her cape at home. It was a very large sandwich.
Private K, meanwhile, went for the Cobb Sandwich ($10.50), which was loaded with roasted turkey, bacon, avocado, crumbled bleu cheese, and a lemon herb dressing. Private K deemed the sandwich “very good.” Unlike me, she opted for the French fries, which looked very tempting from my vantage point across the table. Perhaps I shouldn’t have gotten that side salad after all. The menu does boast that the fries are the best in the valley. I’ll let you be the judge.
Had our stomachs been any larger, we would have ordered something off the “South of the Border” portion of the menu. A little bird told me wonderful things about the tacos (steak, chicken or shrimp on soft corn tortillas, $3-3.50), so now I have a goal for my next visit.
The ambiance also makes the Lakeside Grill an excellent breakfast destination, if you can manage to rouse yourself before 11 am. On that miraculous day, I shall head up to the Grill and continue my quest for the perfect Eggs Benedict ($10.25). I am hopeful, for I already know that the mimosas are excellent. Wines by the glass start at $5.50.