Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine Restaurant Review July 2010
The Best Ruebens on the Napa River
By Dorothy and John Salmon
How many times have you passed the sign on Hwy. 12/121 about a mile west of Hwy. 29 that says “Napa River Resorts”? Well, if you have wondered what that is, you will find out if you go south on Cuttings Wharf Road until you arrive at a place where we love to go to lunch with friends. Its Moore’s Landing and it’s on the Napa River at the southern end of Cuttings Wharf Road. It’s a funky, local’s hangout that we can get to on our boat, which is our favorite way to “land” at Moore’s Landing. The staff is friendly, down-home and the food is great. If you come by boat, you can dock at the Napa County Cuttings Wharf Boat Launch. The County completely rebuilt the boat ramp, parking area and docks, a few years ago.
Whether you drive there by car, or ride your bicycle, you will enjoy a lovely scenic drive through Carneros and will pass Etude Winery. Just before Ceja Vineyards, you turn down Cuttings Wharf Road to Moore’s Landing. Far from presumptuous, Moore’s Landing is a good-old-fashioned riverfront hangout. The comfort food and friendly atmosphere, together with the opportunity to see and enjoy the River, make it a well kept secret in the Napa Valley. John believes that the Rueben sandwich at Moore’s Landing is one of the best he has ever had, especially with their onion rings. The food is plentiful, and Dorothy usually ends up bringing half of her meal back on the boat for a snack later in the afternoon, or dinner that night.
Moore’s Landing has a booth and counter and a diner-style indoor set up that can accommodate about 40 guests. While you are eating, you can talk to the cook, or chat with the many locals who are in the restaurant, probably as often as they are in their own kitchens. The place takes you back to the 1950’s with a funky backroom bar and pool table, and old style pinball games. To give you the flavor of the place, you enter the back room through a split Mylar Coors Beer ad. We just love Moore’s Landing for a change of pace and atmosphere from our better recognized great Napa County restaurants.
When you go into the back room, be sure to look at the photos of the old riverboat that now sits abandoned outside of the restaurant. The before-and- after images of this redwood hulk will give you an idea of what commercial boat traffic on the Napa River used to be.
If it’s a beautiful day, you will be lucky to get a table outside on the patio with views of the Napa River and the beautiful hills above the river. The Appetizer Menu offers Chips and Salsa ($3.50); Calamari Rings ($9.75); Golden Prawn ($9.75); Jerked Tiger Shrimp ($9.50); Chicken Strips ($6.95); Mozzarella Sticks ($6.95); and Jalapeno Poppers ($6.95). Okay, we admit that it is not a lo-cal, low cholesterol place, but it does have its own brand of welcome.
The Appetizer Menu and the website for Moore’s Landing proclaims that “We are committed to create a fun and casual atmosphere. Patrons who insist on being rude, obnoxious, (Or just generally being a pain in the a**) will be subject to a PITA surcharge or a cold dip into the river –server’s choice.” All that they need to add is “Have a nice day” to leave nothing to the imagination!
Moore’s Landing always an assortment of pretty good beer. Just ask Debbie (everyone’s favorite waitress) what is on tap that day and you can sip a brew with your cheeseburger or Rueben. The wine list is pretty sparse, but they typically carry some Lake County red and white wines from Shooting Star Vineyards. We usually order a $13 pitcher of Fat Tire beer and a round of onion rings to start. If you want to be a bit healthier the, there are salads on the menu too. In fact, the Grilled Salmon salad is terrific ($14.50), as are the Jerked Tiger Shrimp on a large Mixed Green Salad ($13.50) or the Pink Shrimp or Grilled Chicken Salads ($13).
We go to Moore’s Landing with our pals to have fun on the boat, laugh and watch the fishermen, pleasure boats and Jet Ski’s go by. It’s the perfect place to fill up and sit outside on green plastic chairs at tables covered by a mixture of unique stapled plastic tablecloths. You can always hang out and read the “Trivia Page” encased in plastic on every table.
Our good friends, Kevin and Ross, who mostly live in New York, but more and more are finding time to be in Napa, love coming with us on the boat to Moore’s Landing. On a recent, sunny Saturday, we took Ross, Kevin, Kevin’s sister and her boyfriend on the boat with us for another Moore’s Landing Rueben and Fat Tire adventure. We hopped off the boat, grabbed 6 empty green plastic chairs and pulled a table together. We needed two pitchers of Fat Tire ($13) and Rueben’s ($9.50) for everyone, except Ross and Dorothy, who had the Grilled Chicken Club Sandwich ($13.50). Amanda, our waitress, did a great job while Debbie, was rushing around like crazy trying to serve everyone at the outside and some inside tables on a very busy day.
If you want a lazy day on the river in a funky setting, don’t miss Moore’s Landing. It’s the other Napa Valley that most of us love and hold close to our hearts. Moore’s Landing’s is located off Hwy. 12/121 on Cutting’s Wharf Road at 6 Cuttings Wharf Road, Napa, CA 94559 (707) 253-7038
Moore’s Landing is open Monday thru Thursday from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. They stay open late on Tuesdays. On Fridays they open at 11:00 am, serve food until 8:00 pm and close when they feel like closing. On Saturdays they open at 8:00 am, serve food until 8:00 pm and close when they feel like closing. Sundays, they open at 8:00 am and close at 3:00 pm. http://www.mooreslanding.com