On the St. Helena Highway in Napa, you might notice crowds of folks flocking to an unassuming window-fronted ranch. You may notice scores of wine sippers, glasses in hand, strolling contentedly through the lush herb gardens and vegetable patches nearby. But don’t be fooled by the come as you are casual exterior of Mustards Grill. Superstar Chef Cindy Pawlcyn’s restaurant packs a powerful punch.
A wine country staple for more than 25 years, Mustards is known for garden fresh cooking – with zing. As the restaurant website describes, Mustards offers “a heaping plate of honest American fare with worldly sophistication.” Chef Pawlcyn is no wimp when it comes to using spices, but her
knack for pairing ingredients and exploring new flavors lends a beautiful, tasty balance to each dish she serves in the legendary restaurant.
Judging by the crowds, we knew we were in for a treat. Our late lunch began in the colorful dining room with a round of hot-hot-hot secret recipe Bloody Mary drinks. OK – I’ll admit – I’m the spicy wimp! With a primed palate, we were more than ready for bread fresh from the oven that demonstrated the prowess of the baking staff – delicious!
Up first was a steaming bowl of the daily special – a zesty tortilla soup with Southwestern flair. We shared a savory plate of warm goat cheese, roasted garlic, sun dried tomato relish and crispy grilled bread that was the perfect combination of tangy cheese and slow-roasted flavor. Our entrees were quite different: a thick cut Niman Ranch steak and Pawlcyn’s succulent pulled pork barbecue. Let me tell you, the barbecue was so expertly crafted, complex and delicious that I bought Pawlcyn’s cookbook for that sauce recipe alone! Amazing!
Call ahead and make reservations, but remember to save room for one of her changing desserts. If you have to linger a little while you wait for your table, stroll the impressive gardens and sip one of the “Way Too Many Wines,” or browse Pawlcyn’s award-winning cookbooks on display.
7399 St. Helena Highway, Napa, CA