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La Toque Makes Black Truffles A Summer AffairBy Virginia Miller | July 8, 2014 By Virginia Miller | July 8, 2014
We've long been fans of chef/owner Ken Frank's cooking at La Toque, Napa's reigning foie defender and one of our 12 Essential Napa Restaurants. Now that summer has hit, we dare say it's the place for black truffles.
Black Truffle Dinners All Year Round: La Toque's five-course fresh black truffle menu ($180 per person) runs through the end of August. So how does Ken Frank source truffles in the summer? It's possible because, right now, it's winter in Western Australia where Frank gets his Perigord-style beauties (from The Truffle & Wine Co.) The chef also has sources for truffles later in the year, too, and he eventually hopes to become a year-round source of consistent truffle menus.
The Highlights: It's all about the savory courses, including a silky chawanmushi made with yellow squash and bone marrow and doused in shaved black truffle. Our favorite is a brilliant dish of Maine lobster over truffled fresh corn “polenta” (pictured above) with accents of celery and rye crumbs.
Wine Tips: The only slight struggle for the dinner are wine pairings ($75 supplement), which shouldn't be the case given the 2000+ bottle cellar and extensive iPad list. Other than a 2007 Barolo from Italy paired with guinea hen, the restaurant's red wine pairings were a tad young (2012) thus lacking in complexity, while we were a bit surprised to see such a mainstream pairing as Veuve Clicquot with the chawanmushi. Be clear with the server about your palate and regional preferences and you may be able to substitute stronger pairings with the dishes.
1314 McKinstry St., Napa, 707-257-5157