A few weeks ago we headed up to Napa for an impromptu day in wine country. We had no plans, and no reservations, other than a wine club shipment to pick up. It’s amazing how quickly you can get to Napa if you wake up early and beat traffic out of the city. We arrived earlier than ever, and spent some time exploring the new Culinary Institute of America at COPIA. We skipped breakfast, so food was next on our agenda.
We parked the car and walked around downtown Napa, considering our options. We’d heard great things about Basalt, which is right on the water in downtown Napa in the spot that was formerly Fish Story. The most important fact we knew about Basalt is that our friend Katrina’s Hot Buttered Rum recipe is on the menu. How could we not try it out?
The best brunches start with cocktails, so we checked out the menu and started with a classic spicy Bloody Mary, and the Doctor J made with vanilla vodka, lemon, honey meringue, cream and seltzer (a play on a fizz). A menu filled with local seasonal cuisine, made it difficult to decide on what to try. We ended up ordering the prettiest shrimp and grits we’ve ever seen. The whole, head-on prawns made the dish! It was delicious served with a perfectly cooked poached egg and Spanish chorizo.
The buttermilk fried chicken and biscuits were also outstanding, and the presentation is also much prettier than your standard biscuit and gravy type dish (this also comes with pepper jelly). We shared both, along with a salad. Side note: the restaurant space is really large, so if you go, make sure to explore the area beyond the bar and check out the pedal-operated player piano (it works!).
Of course, we couldn’t leave without getting what we came for–Parlato’s famous Hot Buttered Rum! Fortunately, Basalt has a lovely patio with a fire pit and outdoor seating, so we took our Hot Buttered Rum outside and enjoyed by the fire. The patio would also be perfect for summer cocktails and a break from wine tasting once the weather warms up.
790 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559