Celadon Restaurant- One of The Best Restaurants in Napa
Editor Update (2016): My former mentor, the wonderful Chef Greg Cole has sold Celadon to his General Manager who takes over this iconic restaurant, continuing Greg’s tradition of excellence in food and service.
Executive Chef and owner Greg Cole has a well deserved reputation of bringing traditional comfort food favorites to soaring new heights. Celadon Napa is one of the few restaurants I could eat at everyday without ever getting bored. From the very warm rapport that guests exhibit with Celadon’s superlative staff, it is obvious that I am not the only one who worships Chef Cole’s brilliant culinary prowess or the elegantly cozy ambiance.
With a menu that is neither too complex nor ordinary, Celadon offers just the perfect variety of fresh, colorful California cuisine with strong Asian and European influences. Chef Cole takes classics such as Chinese Pork Belly (pictured above), Caesar Salad and Slow Roasted Chicken (pictured below), adding nuances few if any, have thought of before. Crisp Pork Belly, (worth every bit of sinful calorie), is slowly braised with a sweet soy and rice vinegar dressing resulting in meat that is melt in your mouth tender with crisp edges. Though Pork Belly has of late made appearances on many famous restaurants’ menus, after sampling several dozen versions at the nation’s premier restaurants, Chef Cole’s is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most succulent and downright perfect.
Herb Roasted Chicken- a seemingly simple dish that very few of even the top chefs can accomplish correctly, showcases Chef Cole’s profound talents. Seasoned with a refreshingly bold amount of spices and salt, the chicken is juicy and moist with a golden brown exterior. The accompanying gnocchi and truffle oil mushroom are addictively comforting. With my weakness for fresh, juicy scallops, Celadon has just what I crave- Togarashi (Japanese spice blend) crusted Scallops with Garlic Mashed Potatoes. A little heat, a lot of savory and an overwhelming desire to make love to the dish. Yes, it is that good.
No culinary journey here is complete without the Celadon Bread Pudding with Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise (pictured below). I’m not usually a fan of bread pudding but Chef Cole and his expert team have outdone themselves with this refined dessert. Creme Anglaise with Grand Marnier is a match made in heaven, glazing the warm pudding while fresh organic berries add refreshing bursts of tanginess.
Despite the recognition it has already received through the years, Celadon manages to make its guests feel relaxed and at home with its classically French bistro setting, quaint fireplace and rustic Napa touches. Of course, it is Chef Cole’s outstanding leadership and genuine service that transcends even the best of his Napa neighbors. When a high profile chef is seen running back and forth between creating food that can only be described as perfection, serving dishes himself and stopping to chat with guests, all without missing a beat or seeming flustered, it is no surprise that his entire team from sous chef to managers and wait staff are all equally gracious and charming.
There is no wondering why this is so many people’s obsession. A truly outstanding restaurant. If you visit during spring, summer or fall, ask for a table “outside,” which at Celadon means in their awning covered area replete with a central fireplace and heating lamps, which may or may not be needed depending on the temperamental bay area weather. During winter, a table inside is both cozy and romantic.