Restaurant Review: St. Helena, California

The Charter Oak


Grilled avocado, rhubarb, ember oil, mayo

Chef Christopher Kostow and restaurant director Nathaniel Dorn, of the three Michelin-starred Restaurant at Meadowood, opened Charter Oak in Napa this past May. It coalesces around a massive wood-fired hearth, where Kostow’s menu incorporates but doesn’t binge on smoke and ash. Often, vegetables take star turns, as in the coal-roasted cabbage with clams, and charred avocado with rhubarb and ember oil. Dorn built a Napa Valley–only wine list that’s wide and deep, then turned it over to Douglas Kahn, a W&S Best New Sommelier of 2017. The list does a deft job balancing new-wave stars like Ferdinand Albariño with cellar curios like 1971 Inglenook Charbono. A serious bar program offers 50 scripted cocktails, new and classic, and an all-California beer card. Tables in the expansive, tree-shaded courtyard are reserved for walk-ins.

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