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The Other CIA   Leave a comment

CIAsalad

It’s often a barely discernible mistep on a fine dining experience that puts everything else off-kilter. When at a table set with a bread plate, a butter knife and a bottle of olive oil, I expect bread. Even if I don’t always eat it (which I usually do), the cues tell me it’s coming. Its absence is distracting. Such was the case at Wine Spectator Greystone Restaurant at the Culinary Institute of America in the Napa Valley. Since our server was nowhere in sight after our salads arrived we couldn’t even request it.

The mix of greens with red and yellow tomatoes were delicately coated in a pesto dressing. Roasted corn and pearl mozzarella, suggestive of miniature marshmallows, took the salad to another level. Nonetheless, the pesto dressing would have been perfect to soak up with a hard-crusted piece of bread.

CIA cod

Once the entrees arrived, I forgot the missing bread, at least temporarily. Pan-seared Ling Cod, delicate in flavor and texture, was served on a bed of creamed spinach. Creamed spinach gets a bad rep; I’ll defend it any chance I get. The addition of Shitake mushrooms made something good even better.

CIA sampler

A choice of four desserts, not counting a selection of artisan cheeses, made it difficult to reach a decision, so the sampler settled the issue. Two were particularly intriguing: Piped Cheesecake and Sliced Chocolate. The former was a deconstructed version. The latter was dark chocolate with spheres of crème brulee. Don’t ask.

Still, I did miss that bread.

Wine Spectator Greystone
Four Plates (Barely)
25555 Main St.
St. Helena, Calif.

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