Dinner at Lucy Restaurant and Bar
By John & Dorothy Salmon
The other night, John and I had a wonderful dinner at Lucy with Todd Zapolski, the new owner of The Shops at Napa Center. It was a celebratory dinner for Todd’s new adventure to enhance the look and feel of shopping in downtown Napa. The dramatic look of Lucy, named after the Bardessono matriarch, is a perfect example of elegance in a natural setting, complete with an organic garden of amazing veggies that will show up on your plate minutes after they come out of the ground.
Lucy has gorgeous glass tables, inventive lighting, and large white art on the walls.. The setting is beautiful, and the bathrooms are unique, with Japanese toilets that are out of Star Trek. We love Executive Chef, Victor Scargle, and have followed him from Copia to Go Fish, Jardiniere, Grand Café, Aqua, The CIA at Greystone and now, to Lucy. Chef, Victor Scargle, offers a menu that is billed as “embodying the hotel’s modern aesthetic and eco-conscious spirit.”
Not only does Chef Scargle use the freshest picked vegetables, herbs and fruits from Lucy’s garden, he also has the best of the best from Ubuntu’s garden, lovingly tended by Peter Jacobsen. Victor and Peter worked together at Copia, so Copia’s gift to Napa Valley lives on to include Lucy and Ubuntu’s gardens … more examples of the gift that Bob and Margrit Mondavi and so many others made possible.
Walking into Lucy is relaxing and the service is impeccable. Caesar and Christina were our very professional and home-grown servers. Caesar was born in Guadalajara and moved to Napa when he was eight, graduated from Napa High, and is a certified Sommelier. Christina is also a local product of the continually emerging food and wine industry in Napa County.
We began our evening with Lucy’s bar drinks to see what exotic treats they had in store for us. Todd ordered a Tanqueray gin straight up with olives ($10), Dorothy ordered a Redrum, which has flor de cana rum, blood orange, lemon, vanilla and egg white ($12). John pretended that we were on Cape Cod and ordered a Dark and Stormy, made with Goslings dark rum, ginger syrup, lime, and cock-n-bull ginger beer ($14). All of our cocktails were great. With our cocktails, we were served sourdough Acme bread that was delicious, along with remarkable, cranberry-walnut bread and a starter, Lucy’s green salad, that was amazing.
John ordered the Chicory Salad, made with Rogue River Smokey blue cheese, walnut citrus vinaigrette, spiced candied walnuts, and k&j orchards pear ($12); Dorothy had the Carrot Salad made with freshly dug Thumbelina carrots, served with the stem end still on, with lighter yellow carrots and carrot chips served with a curry shallot dressing ($12). She said it was the BEST salad ever. Todd enjoyed the David Little Potato and Marche Truffle Salad, with roasted quail, watercress and Mache ($15). The salads at Lucy are fresh, unique and delicious, as are the fruit deserts that come right from the garden or picked from the adjacent fruit tree.
We thought that a bottle of the 2010, Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc was the perfect complement for our dinners. The wine list at Lucy is large, outstanding and unique. Note that there is a corkage fee of $20 if you bring your own bottle of wine. For an additional appetizer, we shared the Maine Diver Scallops with peach soubise, caramelized onion jus and onions ($15). For dinner, Todd ordered the Crispy Skin Black Bass with vegetables a la grecque, with banyuls vinegar and torn herbs ($25); Dorothy enjoyed the Maine Lobster Risotto with summer squash, crème fraiche, tarragon and sorre ($19), John stayed true to his Midwestern roots and had Mary’s Chicken, with Yukon potato, sun choke gratin with yuzu kosho, garden choy, broccoli, and Lucy rau ram jus ($27).
The ingredient-driven farm/ocean/field to fork cuisine is what chef Victor Scargle is known for, and Lucy makes Bardessono shine like it has never shone before. Since we were writing the restaurant review, we figured we needed to try the desserts. So, Victor brought out the Lemon Tart, made with huckleberries, crème fraiche sherbet, and green tea cake ($11) which was amazing. Of course, we had to try Victor’s famous S’Mores, which are definitely not like anything you have had on a family camping trip. These S’Mores are made with a chocolate torte, toasted marshmallow ice cream, graham cracker and a dusting of peanut butter powder ($11).
Lucy’s bar and lounge features a full-bar with an array of artisanal spirits. Their very large and extensive wine list offers renowned small producers from around the world, and many organic, sustainable and biodynamic vintners. If you want to get away, even if you live in Napa County, consider staying at Bardessono. They have 62 luxurious guest rooms to choose from, and each room is designed with its own private in-room spa where you can order the spa service of your dreams, or swim in their rooftop pool, ride around town on a carbon-fiber bicycle, or simply relax in a lovely, sustainable, elegant setting that is LEED Platinum certified. Whatever you decide; stay for a weekend, dine for breakfast, lunch or dinner, Lucy is a must on your list of things you shouldn’t pass up in the Napa Valley.
Sweet Corn Soup
4oz Leeks, split in half sliced thin and washed
4oz Fennel split, core removed,
sliced thin & washed
2oz Celery, sliced thin and washed
2oz Kennenbec potatoes peeled and rough chop
1ea Garlic cloves, smashed
1 ½ Corn kernels
¼ C Pastis
½ C White wine
2 Vegetable stock
12ea Corn cobs tied
1qt Heavy cream
4 ea Padron peppers sliced on a bias
1 C Buttermilk
1 C Cornmeal
1 C Corn kernels lightly pan roasted
with grapeseed oil salt and pepper
Place vegetables in a rondoux with a little grape seed oil on low heat. Add salt to draw out flavor and moisture. Once vegetables become translucent add pastis and white wine and reduce by half. Add vegetable stock and bring to a simmer for 30 minutes with corn cobs. Add cream bring to a simmer again for 15 minutes. Taste soup throughout the cooking process and adjust seasoning as needed.
Remove from heat. Take cobs out. Blend in blender and strain through wood handle strainer. Refrigerate immediately or serve. To garnish slice padron peppers on an angle and dip in buttermilk, shake off excess buttermilk and coat with corn meal and fry till golden brown.
Garnish the soup with padron peppers, roasted corn kernels, and fino verde basil leaves.