Dinner at Bistro Jeanty in Yountville

Friday night’s dinner in Yountville was at an old favorite - Bistro Jeanty. It was only a few blocks from our hotel and I had been deliberating for days over the difficult choice between Crème de Tomate en Croute (a rich tomato soup with a puff pastry top) or Quenelles de Brochet in lobster sauce to start. In the end I was swayed by the more seasonal asparagus soup special, which was quite hot when it reached the table, with a little pool of melted butter and a drizzling of crème fraiche. Though pretty and tasty, it was not exceptional. A nod goes to Peder for his delicious asparagus soup last New Year’s. Oren had a beet and mâche salad with feta that was good, but also missing something. However, in an interesting twist, the beets tasted lightly pickled.The sole meuniere over mashed potatoes was as good as ever, with the thin, peeled slices of lime on top of the fish cutting the butter and giving the dish a refreshing bite. On our waiter’s fortuitous recommendation, Oren tried for the first time the house special black pepper crusted filet minion with a creamy mushroom sauce and haricots verts. Early in the meal we had seen a tall, wide-mouthed flute of what looked almost like a frapuccino delivered to the table next to us and, when the dessert menu arrived, we puzzled over what it could be. We have had the crepe suzette in the past and decided to go for the house specialty that we had not yet tried: chocolate mousse brulee. We were pleasantly surprised by a crisp caramel layer on top of perhaps a quarter of an inch of rich, dark chocolate mousse, which itself was layered over a layer of rich vanilla custard. Our half bottle of Grgich Hills 2003 Estate Fume Blanc had a nice citrus and honey note and structured acidity, though it was a little too fruity and simple, so we rated it an acceptable but not great 5.5/10 (no grade inflation here). The Paul Hobbes 2001 Cabernet half bottle fared better: though it was hot and fruit-forward, it had a good balance of tannins and acidity and nice berry undertones – 7/10.