Vegetarian and healthy plates are following me.
Not on a stalker level, but I’m seeing them more often. Lately I’ve been visiting restaurants and while looking through the menu I find myself opting for healthier plates. Burgers have been replaced with salads and steaks have been substituted with quinoa power bowls. I don’t know if this is a sign of the apocalypse, but it’s starting to feel like it.
Earlier this month a friend, Alexis, and I visited Napa Valley Grille. That sentence has a similar beginning to most restaurant reviews that I’ve done. The only difference here is that Alexis is a vegetarian. And not a casual “eating sushi makes me a vegetarian today” vegetarian like myself, but the “I haven’t touched a single piece of meat in a decade” vegetarian. While she’s fine being around people who eat meat I opted to have plates that were a bit better for me.
Sitting in the relatively new restaurant on the west side we took a second to look over the menu. It started to become clear that this wasn’t the best place to take a vegetarian as the options were somewhat slim. A few sides and salads were our best bet, but we would make it work. Thankfully the waiter let me know that many of the plates could have the meat removed. With that, we ordered.
To start we had cocktails. Alexis went with the Dragon Cocktail ($12) which had lemongrass, tarragon, lime, Grey Goose, and Domaine de Canton. I didn’t try any of her drink, but saw interest in the simplistic look of it and hoped she liked it. Within a few minutes I could tell that she did. I quickly took my attention from her drink and focused on mine. I got the Spaghetti Western ($12). It was made with Giffard Orgeat almond syrup, lime, Solero, and Milagro Tequila Reposado. I loved how this cocktail balanced being both strong and sweet so perfectly. It made it easy to drink and even easier to get tipsy. A little piece of advice: one is more than enough!
As the cocktails began to disappear from their respective glasses, the starters and the sides we ordered arrived. It may sound odd to have them that way, but it was really a request on my part for photos. The single starter we ordered was the Crescenza Cheese & Serrano Ham Tartine ($15). We had the ham placed on the side so Alexis wouldn’t ruin her vegetarian streak. That was fine with me because it also meant the ham was all for me. The plate had slices of toasted raisin-pecan bread topped with pickled onions and arugula. Biting into it, the bread was nicely done, the pickles were juicy and tart, and the arugula added a nice level of liveliness. Adding the rolls of ham to it, I loved how salty and tender the meat was. The meat made the entire tartine come together perfectly, but I didn’t say that to Alexis.
The sides were the next items I dug my fork into. The first was the Creamy Polenta ($9) made with Mahon cheese and sprinkled throughout with cracked black pepper. As I tasted the polenta, it was clear that the dish lived up to its name: it was creamy! I loved grabbing forkfuls of it because it was easy to enjoy the smooth and pepper-rich dish. I was on the fence with the Charred Marble Potatoes ($9) that we ordered. Mainly because they were drizzled with white truffle, and if you’ve followed this blog then you know I have mixed feelings about truffle. That aside I gave it an honest shot. To my disbelief, I liked them! It could have been the softness within the rounded potatoes, the chives sprinkled atop, or the crème fraiche but as a whole the white truffle wasn’t a distraction and I liked them.
Once the starter and sides were done, we had our entrees. Between Alexis and I, we split two plates starting with a whole Seasonal Harvest Salad ($15 whole, $10 half). The salad was so pretty and colorful! The plate was full of mixed greens, roasted kabocha squash, green dragon apples, glazed walnuts, and served with a maple-olive dressing. I really liked how sprightly and refreshing this salad was. The squash offered a smooth texture while the apples gave it bursts of juice in each bite. But the best part for me had to be the sweet walnuts that came with a nice bit of crunch.
The last of the two entrée’s that we had was the Bucatini Pomodoro ($23). The pasta took sun-dried tomatoes, capers, olives, and was topped with Parmesan cheese. Since most of the pasta I eat tends to be heavy with ground beef or stuffed witch chicken, to have a pasta free of any meat was strange. The initial oddity of it all faded as I began to eat it. The noodles were al dente, the tomatoes were light and fresh, and the combination of the olives and capers paired with the cheese created such a delicious pasta that I didn’t miss the meat!
To end the dinner we had the Warm Sticky Toffee Date Cake ($9). This was a choice of Alexis as I wasn’t too eager to have a dessert with dates. Luckily, it turned out that the cake was delicious! Served with vanilla bean ice cream, the cake was warm to the point that it instantly melted the ice cream it was paired with. All together the dessert was sweet, rich, and closed the entire dinner perfectly.
Healthy and delicious plates are following me and the ones we had at Napa Valley Grille are light and delicious. Seeing as these dishes are coming my way more often and with summer right around the corner, it’s probably a good thing.
Address: 1100 Glendon Avenue, #100, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Hours: Monday to Thursday – 11:30am to 11:00pm, Friday -11:30am to 12:00am, Saturday – 11:00am to 12:00am, and Sunday 11:00am to 9:00pm
Social: Website, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Nice location
- Structure or street parking only