Innovative Autumn Menu comes to Napa Valley Grille

Napa Valley Grille
It is fall and for many restaurants, time to showcase their Autumn menu with a change in flavors of their cuisine. Such is the case with Napa Valley Grille in Westwood Village. LA Wine Writers had an opportunity to sample some of the food offered on both the lunch and dinner menu.

Napa Daily Grille is one of the few restaurants that has remained a staple in Westwood Village. Restaurants come and go in this college town but not Napa Valley Grille. General Manager Brian Cousins puts a new spin on the restaurant with this updated Autumn menu. With these innovations, you can see the creative influence that Chef Kenny Spost has on the cuisine.

Napa Valley Grille GM Brian Cousins - Chef Kenny Spost
Napa Valley Grille’s GM Brian Cousins and Chef Kenny Spost

Our meal was enhanced with some atypical wines for the Napa Valley Grille. Since the restaurant specializes in California cuisine, its wine focus is California, but continuing through October, one can find some unusual offerings from Germany and Bordeaux as the restaurant explores Clink Different: Wines of Europe. These wines pair exceptionally with many of the items on the new autumn menu.

Napa Valley Grille First Course

It is common knowledge that Germany is known for its Riesling, but it is rare to find a sparkling Riesling. We began our luncheon with the 2016 Scharzhofberger Riesling Sparkling Wine Brut, Saar, and it was one of my favorites at the tasting. I found an approachable, bright sparkler with flavors of citrus.

Scharzhofberger Brut Riesling
Scharzhofberger Brut Riesling

This wine was paired with Baked Oyster with Chipotle Herb Butter. I am not an oyster lover, but this dish was outstanding.

Baked Oyster with Chipotle Herb Butter
Baked Oyster with Chipotle Herb Butter

Autumn Menu Second Course

Most people are not aware that Germany grows Pinot Noir, and our first wine to showcase this variety was the 2018 Villa Wolf Pinot Noir Rosé, Pfalz. We were batting a thousand with this Rosé. It was the 2nd hit of the wine line up. I found a refreshing and very easy drinking Rosé with flavors of raspberry and cherry.

Villa Wolf Rose of Pinot Noir
Villa Wolf Rosé of Pinot Noir

This Rosé paired excellently to the most unusual yet intriguing salad. This delightful fruit-based salad consisted of mixed greens, frisée, toasted turmeric pepitas, pears, raspberries, bubu arare, and vanilla bean vinaigrette. The combination was marvelous. I would have gladly had a whole meal of this salad. This salad is featured on Napa Daily Grille’s new lunch menu.

Napa Valley Grille Autumn Menu Salad
Napa Valley Grille Salad

Autumn Menu Third Course

Experimenting with three wines during this course, we sampled the 2017 Franz Keller Vo Löss Pinot Gris, Baden, lighter-bodied wine with flavors of lemon. Next 2017 Clos des Lunes Lune d’Argent, Sauternes, Bordeaux, although a dry, full-bodied Sauternes, the wine was my least favorite wine due to the overly veggie quality exhibited. Finally, with this course, we sampled the 2017 Scheferkorf Sylvaner, Franken, Germany, a full-bodied wine with lemon flavors.

Franz Keller Pinot Gris
Franz Keller Pinot Gris

Both the Pinot Gris and the Sylvaner complemented our 3rd course, the Turmeric-Crusted Tuna. This dish combines orange-ginger soy reduction, shaved fennel, black sesame seeds, and taro root chips with the tuna. This dish can be found on both the restaurant’s lunch and dinner menu and without hesitation an excellent choice for your meal.

Napa Valley Grille Autumn Menu Turmeric-Crusted Tuna
Napa Valley Grille Autumn Menu Turmeric-Crusted Tuna

Napa Valley Grille Four Course

This course I call Pinot time as it showed off two stellar Pinot Noirs from Germany. The first the 2016 August Kesseler, The Daily August, Pinot Noir, Rheingau amused me because I have traveled to Rudesheim many times and never sampled a Pinot Noir from the area. I discovered a lively and bright, very drinkable Pinot. The second Pinot featured, the 2016 Franz Keller Pinot Noir, Baden displayed an earthly, more serious demeanor with lots of depth and flavors of tart cherry.

Napa Valley Grille Autumn Menu Turmeric-Crusted Tuna
German Pinot Noirs

This course featured Colorado Lamb Rack with corn polenta and mint pomegranate reduction. I always love the Lamb at Napa Valley Grille, but it was the corn polenta that stood out on this course because instead of using cream as the base, the polenta uses corn stalks. This dish is featured on the new dinner menu.

Napa Valley Grille Autumn Menu Colorado Lamb Rack
Napa Valley Grille Autumn Menu Colorado Lamb Rack. Photo Courtesy of Eve Hammond Bushman.

Napa Valley Grille Fifth Course

Moving to the Left Bank of Bordeaux, we sampled the 2010 Goulée by Cos d’Estournel, Medoc. This wine required a little airing before drinking. I found a rich, smooth, full-bodied wine with flavors of cherry and tobacco.

Goulee by Cos d Estournel
Goulée by Cos d’Estournel

This wine accompanied the Wagyu New York Strip Steak with green peppercorn and cognac jus. One finds this dish on the dinner menu.

Napa Valley Grille Australian Wagyu NY Strip Steak
Napa Valley Grille Australian Wagyu NY Strip Steak

Dessert Wine

Topping off our meal, we sampled the 2012 Chateau Pineau du Rey, Bordeaux, France, a delightful dessert wine with flavors of honey and apricot. Definitely, the wine to finish this scrumptious meal.

Chateau Pineau Du Rey
Château Pineau Du Rey

The wines are a special treat, so remember they are only available through the end of October. The Autumn menu cuisine stays in effect until the end of the year.

For more information and reservations:

Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Note: Common to the industry, this writer was hosted to both the wines sampled and the luncheon. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.