Former David Chang's Momofuku Staffers open concept in Yountville's North Block Hotel

A restaurant scoop in my new home city, Yountville in Napa Valley. There is a new restaurant in the famous North Block Hotel, by former team members behind the celebrity Chef David Chang's world famous Momofuko Group. 

 

NOTE: This new North Block Restaurant is owned by North Block and is not affiliated in any way with their former employer. They bring a bevy of talent, having earned up to 2 Michelin Stars in their former positions.

 

Executive Chef Nick Tamburo, General Manager Andy Wedge and Sous Chefs Jason Venters and Callan Buckles round out the kitchen team. They all left NYC to open the restaurant, (Chef Ventures has been in Napa Valley (Over 2 years now c/o The French Laundry) which is now completely owned by Mosaic Hotel Group/North Block Hotel. Called simply "North Block, the team is going to introduce a menu which is American fusion with a twist, Contemporary California cuisine. Of course expect local California wines and beers and some European wines to pair with the seasonal menus. Regarding the cocktail list it will mirror the playful cuisine, the concise cocktail list presents the classics, transformed by modern techniques and house made syrups.

 

While strolling down Washington Street, I wandered inside and spoke to the warm and welcoming General Manager, Andy Wedge. There is a March 1 opening, on the luxury hotel's intimate patio. Initially food service will be for hotel guests and perhaps some lucky local Yountvillians, like myself? The interior is undergoing some renovations and will be open to the public later in the month of March. The staffers all are former staffers of the famed Momofuko in NYC and are excited to open their soon-to-be hotspot just steps away from Thomas Keller's restaurant and gardens The French Laundry.

 

Situated at the north end of Yountville in wine country’s most coveted epicurean locale, North Block is a luxurious place to call home during your stay in Napa Valley. Travel & Leisure magazine named North Block Hotel #1 California resort hotel in 2020! It is a charming, intimate 20 room adults only, dog friendly retreat in the heart of Wine country. A mecca for food and wine connoisseurs, Yountville offers restaurants, small-production wine tasting rooms and boutique shops all within walking distance from our doorstep. The North Block restaurant replaces the former Redd Wood.

 

North Block is keeping the integrity of the interior that is so beloved to the locals with help by local designer Erin Martin. Erin returns to North Block to layer onto her celebrated design, softening the dark and masculine space with earthy hues, lighter materials, leather wrapped fixtures and warm wood tones to compliment Chef Tamburo’s laid back style. Martin tapped into her international tribe of artisans to create a setting that complements the culinary direction, with Berlin muralist Michael Dute commissioned to hand-paint a mural in the private dining room, while oversize porcelain magnolia flowers from artist Owen Mann of New York pop against the once familiar black and moody walls in the dining room. Central to the space is a welcoming bar and open kitchen with retained white subway tiling, further complemented by a 10-seat private dining room, and expansive outdoor patio strung with romantic lighting with views of lush greenery throughout the property.  

 

Momofuku, has been credited with “the rise of contemporary Asian-American cuisine” by the New York Times, and was named the “most important restaurant in America” by Bon Appétit magazine. Momofuku has opened restaurants in the United States, Australia, and Canada, which have gained world-wide recognition for their innovative take on cuisine, while supporting sustainable and responsible farmers and food purveyors. Yountville is so lucky to have snagged this talented team! The Chef team hail from David Chang  Momofuku restaurant group, which includes Momofuku Noodle Bar, Momofuku Ssäm Bar, Milk Bar, and Momofuku Ko in New York City; Momofuku Seiōbo in Sydney; Momofuku Noodle Bar and Kojin in Toronto; and Momofuku CCDC in Washington, DC. In 2009, Momofuku Ko was awarded two Michelin stars, which it has retained each year since. Quite the team to head up the new North Block restaurant!

 

Chef Tamburo’s approach to cooking with seasonal bounty is seen through his passion for creating inventive dishes meant to be shared. His menu is built for curious palates: simple dishes driven by the environment, infused with raw and smokey elements. A Japanese grill using Binchotan charcoal will imbue smoked flavors in dishes like the Duck a la Gray with lime pickle and crème fraiche, an homage to Tamburo’s former chef-mentor Sean Gray (Momofuku Ko). The wood burning oven will be used for cooking Woodfired Cabbage, a dish served with enoki mushroom, chili and matsuri rice, and a Whole Petrale Sole roasted in seaweed. Naturally-leavened pizzas will be a house staple, beginning with a Potato Pizza with chive, buttermilk ranch and rotating with the seasons. Savory lunch and weekend brunch, representing Tamburo’s multi-faceted culinary experience, will also take cues from the seasonal harvest. Curated poolside experiences are in the works, as are creative takes on in-room dining and pop-ups on property.

 

Photo Credit: Chef Nick.

 

 

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