I always say that the beauty of not being from L.A. is that everything is new to me. I’ve noticed how valuable that has become since I’ve started doing more and more restaurant reviews. I’m visiting places that are both new hot spots and old standards but can give a fresh perspective on the two.
Recently I visited Napa Valley Grille in Westwood. Now I was pretty sure this was a “chain” restaurant (a dreaded word in the Foodie world) but there was something that intrigued me about this one… NVG in Westwood has its own Executive Chef on site. That’s right, Chef Taylor Boudreaux is not just a name printed on a menu. He is actually there making sure every dish is executed the way he intended… straight up delicious.
We started the evening off with 2 of their signature cocktails, the Clementini and the Vanilla Pomegranate Mojito. Now, I’m not a gin girl, but the Clementini was knock-your-socks-off good! It tasted like a [very dangerous] creamsicle.
The parade of food started with a delightful Butternut Squash Agnoloti but hurry over soon to try it, Chef Taylor changes his Agnoloti dishes seasonally. Next up was probably the best crab cake I’ve ever had. We joked about how most places will serve you sub-par “crab-flavored bread” and call it a crab cake but there was nothing but fresh lump crab meat and a little extra seasoning and dressing in this one. Check out how to make it for yourself here!
Our entrees included Seared Scallops, which were actually from my old stomping grounds of New Bedford, Massachusetts. They were cooked beautifully and stacked on top of a roasted corn salsa and parsnip puree. We also tried out the Pork Loin that was packed full of flavor and cooked to a medium-rare temperature. A bold move that you don’t see too many restaurants do. It was great especially stacked on the roasted apples! The last entrée on our menu was actually Chef Taylor’s favorite, the rack of Lamb. Now I’ll admit, I’m not the biggest lamb-fan, but the flavor was great and super decadent on top of a frothy celery root puree.
As if we weren’t ready to be rolled out of there, it was time for dessert. Being as full as we were, Chef Taylor insisted we at least try a few bits of his homemade Tiramisu. The light whipped topping on the made-from-scratch lady fingers were the perfect finale to our meal!
The rustic setting of Napa Valley Grille is gorgeous and provides for an intimate atmosphere even in such a large venue. NVG also hosts private events and specialty dinners open to the public! For more information visit - http://www.napavalleygrille.com/westwood
Don’t forget to get social!