After a winter hiatus in which The Restaurant at Meadowood in St. Helena has totally redone its kitchen and refreshed the dining room, the Michelin three-star restaurant reopens tonight. Chef Christopher Kostow has reworked the menu during the break, and as he told Grub Street back in December, "We could have continued doing exactly what we've been doing and been a great restaurant for another five years. But we want to be even better than that." We have some more menu details and photos for you, as well as some words about several new dishes from Chef Kostow.
Kostow, who was nominated for a James Beard Award this week for Best Chef in the Pacific region, took a minute out of his his busy prep schedule today to talk to Grub Street about a few of the new dishes he's doing tonight, some of which are now finished in a brand new Josper coal- and wood-burning oven. "It enables us to impart some more rustic flavors," Kostow says, "but it's in a controlled manner. We're doing a squab dish, for instance, and steps one through nine are really elegant, and precise, and then it just goes in the oven for a minute and that imparts this wonderful smokiness." Also, he adds, that while it's built for burning coal, they're putting apple and fig wood from around the property in it as well, and they've been experimenting with burning dried grape vines, as well.
"I'm really amped about all these dishes," Kostow says. "We're doing a black cod is smoked and steamed, and served with creamed borage, Jerusalem artichokes, raw celery, and then we make this cod stock that has a lot of naturally occurring gelatin in it, and we whip it tableside into a meringue and serve it over the top of the dish."
Then, there's a crab dish that makes use of the new oven. "We're making a butter from the brains of the crab (it's a Japanese preparation) and then stuffing tortellonis with it. So you've got these tortellonis that are liquid inside, then pieces of roasted crab, cauliflower also roasted in the coal oven, fresh sea urchin, crab stock the dish sort of looks like coral reef, it's pretty cool looking."
The dining room meanwhile only got a facelift no real structural changes. There's a new coat of paint, new carpet, chairs and upholstery, art, lampshades, and some new colors in the trim. "It mirrors very well what's outside the window," Kostow says. "The burnt wood and bright grass."
Check out our slideshow below, and here is the chef's counter tasting menu for tonight, which will run you $500 with $350 additional for wine pairings. Please note that pricing for the regular nine-course tasting menu remains unchanged at $225, not including beverages, tax or gratuity and also not including the room you'll probably want at the resort for the night after you finish your meal. It's kind of a long drive back to the city...
The Restaurant at Meadowood - 900 Meadowood Lane, St. Helena - 707.967.1205