Kurobuta Pork Chop (and Three Other Courses) @ Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford


Third Course: Kurobuta pork chop with apples, kale, whole-grain mustard spaetzle, cipollini onion, and apple cider sauce. Kurobuta is Japanese for Berkshire.

Here in the Napa Valley (and I believe in other parts of the country as well), January is Restaurant Month. There’s quite a few deals being offered throughout the area, but the best, by far, is the two-course lunch at Auberge du Soleil. This year, lunch at Auberge in January will cost you $20.14 — just a penny more than last year.

I will admit — at the risk of over-populating California — that today was another 70-degree day, not a cloud in the sky, with a slight breeze. Sorry if you’ve been trying to catch a flight out of New York; I’ve been trying to figure out whether or not to drop the top on my convertible (full disclosure: I don’t own a convertible).

As long as I’m being honest, I should also admit that I used to cook at Auberge. I can never review a current or former workplace with complete impartiality, so I don’t even try to do so. I will just say that from a professional standpoint, I left Auberge today feeling really proud to have worked there. I was lucky.

Every course today was spot on, right down to the last vegetable, right down to the two kinds of freshly-baked bread, and right down to the complimentary chocolate biscotti. Of course, I did receive a few extras beyond the norm — not bribes, and not for this blog — but just because I’m in the industry, I’m an Auberge alum, and I have friends who still work there (my friends at Auberge are actually the ones whom I’ve known the longest in the Napa Valley).

So don’t consider this a review. Think of it as my food journal from today. The pictures should speak for themselves (but I’ll write a few captions anyhow). As for the wine, I chose a Leitz Rüdesheimer Rosengarten Riesling Kabinett 2012 (offered by the glass) — perfect with the scallop and the pork chop, and perfect for another pseudo-Spring day in wine country.


First Course: Beet salad with arugula, frisee rosemary croutons, and sherry vinaigrette. This salad, along with the pork chop above, comprised the $20.14 lunch for today.

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Second Course: Seared diver scallop with blood orange supreme, Brussels sprouts, diced carrots, pomegranate seeds, miso-butter sweet potato puree, and black garlic vinaigrette. The scallop was cooked to perfection. I have an interior shot in my Instagram feed.

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Fourth Course: Deconstructed key lime pie with coconut ice cream. The little cubes are coconut gelee.

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