Restaurant Of The Day: Grace’s Table

By Michelle Doucette

What:Grace’s Table inNapa, Calif., calls itself a “global kitchen” that serves the comfort food of your grandparents’ homelands; but this is country fare, Napa style: Pork belly cures in a wine barrel for 10 days before being added to cassoulet, and shaved asparagus is picked an hour before starring in a truffle-dressed salad. Chef-owner Mauro Pando’s specialty is re-imagining international favorites such as steak frites and Tuscan octopus—which he correctly notes is “the antithesis of everything you know about octopus” when it’s been marinated, braised, grilled and perfectly paired with his butter-bean ragout. In afood- and wine-obsessed citythat touts more than 70 restaurants within walking distance of downtown, Grace’s Table stands out with its creative use of local ingredients in authentic, global cuisine. The restaurant’s minimalistic corner space—with pendant lighting and chalkboard menus but no tablecloths—is designed to let the food shine and welcome in the California sun.

Where:Find Grace’s Table at the intersection of Franklin and Second streets in downtown Napa’s emerging West End. Situated around the corner from Andaz Napa, one block from Uptown Theatre and four blocks from Main Street and the riverfront, the restaurant is within walking distance of most Napa attractions. Grace’s Table and downtown Napa are located about an hour fromSan Francisco, Oakland and Sacramento international airports.

Chef Mauro Pando, photo courtesy Grace's Table

When:With an ever-changing menu focused on seasonal ingredients, Grace’s Table rewards frequent visitors with new tastes throughout the year, and spring and summer bring sidewalk seating. But ask a Napa local what one splurge-worthy constant is and what you’ll hear is, “brunch.” The popular brunch menu includes everything from decadent entrées such as eggs Benedict and chilaquiles to healthy options such as market-fresh fruit and yogurt and fruit parfaits. Two particularly in-demand brunch dishes are the local fish tacos and Southwest tamales—and it only takes one bite of the melt-in-your-mouth halibut (though the fish changes depending on what’s available) or chipotle pulled pork shoulder to understand why they are menu favorites.

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