2013 Top 100 Restaurants in the Bay Area.
Brandon Sharp continues to put out the best food in the upper Napa Valley, which is quite a feat considering the restaurant is in an elegant resort that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The offerings cover all the bases. He calls his food “California soul food inspired by the seasons.” On one side of each menu category are lighter dishes “to nourish your soul;” on the other are hearty combinations “to comfort your body.” You can pork out with sliders stacked with bacon or slim down with spicy shrimp lettuce wraps. The dining room also meets a wide range of needs: In winter, there’s a modern barn-like interior with a long fireplace; in spring, look to the poolside terrace, where you can bring your dog.
Brandon Sharp is the rare chef able to bridge the divide between health-conscious and decadent food. At the Solage resort in Calistoga, he divides the menu into lighter dishes “to nourish your soul” and combinations “to comfort your body.” Of course, you can order both styles in the dining room overlooking the pool and the rugged hills around Calistoga.
One of my favorite chefs in the Bay Area is Brandon Sharp, who has given Calistoga an interesting and fun dining destination at Solbar in the Solage Resort. It’s a great venue for him because the area is less traveled than Yountville and Napa, so it’s hard for a restaurant to survive without the backing like he receives at the resort, a sister property to Auberge du Soleil.
It’s tough for a chef to do breakfast, lunch and dinner, but Sharp has not only done that but created an interesting menu that plays to those who are passionate about food and to those who are there to partake in the spa aspect of the resort. Diners can mix and match between hearty and light fare.
Brandon Sharp took what could have been typical upscale resort food and made it relevant.
It’s a pretty drive up to Calistoga, and even though it’s only 7 miles north of St. Helena, the mood and the landscape feels much more untamed and rustic – that is, until you get to the Solage resort, owned by the Auberge du Soleil group. Chef Brandon Sharp creates a menu that is divided into lighter and heartier dishes. A light main course might be poached petrale sole with artichokes, crawfish and blood orange sabayon ($28); heartier might be braised beef short ribs with macaroni and cheese and collard greens ($36). You can eat outside overlooking the pool or inside in the barn-like structure with a long modern fireplace dividing the rooms.
I’m not exactly sure how Solbar prepares its ribs for its back rib sandwich, pictured above, but the tenderness is all there, along with the succulence and everything else (the pork bones seem to have been easily removed from the meat). It is, perhaps, the best pork sandwich in the Bay Area. So recommended.
The Solage Calistoga in California’s wine country is a world-renowned resort featuring unique touches such as bicycles for use on the premises and locally made bath products. The décor includes vaulted ceilings and polished concrete floors, and the resort caters to just about everything you could want in a getaway, from fitness classes to mud baths and mineral water soaks. The restaurant, Solbar, offers a unique, fresh take on soul food while showcasing locally grown and sustainably farmed ingredients. Rates start at $510 per night. http://www.solagecalistoga.com/
Calistoga Chef Brandon Sharp reached a national audience last week when one of his dishes was featured on an episode of the Food Network show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”
Here are some of the words that make me salivate. There are many others, so I’d love for everyone to nominate terms that seduce and tease them. Food related, of course. – Review by Michael Bauer
March 15, 2011
Brandon Sharp, Executive Chef, Solbar, Calistoga, California. “If you asked me this question 10 years ago, it would be fried bologna, American cheese, barbecue sauce and potato chips wrapped in a tortilla. But now, rice, vegetables and gravy is something that’s really soothing to me whether it’s Thai coconut curry, chili verde or ratatouille.”
March 07, 2011
“Solage Calistoga’s hotel restaurant Solbar isn’t just another hotel restaurant. From the culinary expertise of Executive Chef Brandon Sharp, the menu denotes Northern California’s finest and freshest produce with modern French techniques. That “non-intimidating” approach to classic California cuisine is probably what earned Solbar attention from Michelin Guide, though that recognition has hardly stopped the furor of creation (after all, it originated as a bistro with burgers and pizza). “The cooking has French technique and a French backbone to it, but the [entrees] aren’t classical French compositions so they aren’t screaming for Napa Valley Cabs and Chardonnay,” says Sharp. Wine goes hand in hand with any restaurant in the Napa Valley, but sommelier Bradley Wasserman doesn’t feel the need to be bound by local wineries. “It’s a fun juggling act,” says Wasserman about mixing local wineries with those from around the globe.”
February 25, 2011
There are plenty of high-end restaurants, such as the stunning Solbar, with remarkable bass with pear or dungeness crab with a sweet potato veloute to go with a knowledgeable wine staff
- Jim Byers
The Best Restaurants in Napa
January 17, 2011
“Poolside patio at Solbar is the spot to get a glass of wine and watch the sun go down over the Mayacama mountains across the valley. The Euro lounge-y vibe and a bar menu — served until midnight — with all the comforting basics make it an ideal place should you want to eat after most restaurants’ closing time of 9 p.m. (they get to bed early in wine country). Early risers, too, will find rare respite with breakfast and a Sunday brunch menu. While there’s a slightly trendy vibe, don’t be surprised if a couple wanders in wearing bathrobes — Solbar sits on the premises of Solage Resort. The haute-hearty dinner menu has garnered raves, though, and Solbar stands alone as a singular distention.”
December 3, 2010
“I love meat. I fantasize about ribeye. I would live inside of one of Momofuku’s pork belly buns if I could. But I have to say the meal that’s seared in my memory after a recent trip to California is the plate of perfectly cooked, delicately dressed vegetables I had at Solbar in Calistoga. A lovely arrangement of carrots, beets, parsley root and Tokyo turnips, this was a shockingly flavorful dish that made me rethink my carnivorous ways—at least for a night.”
November 29, 2010
Chef Brandon Sharp – Solbar, California
November 19, 2010
“Sharp is executive chef of the Michelin-starred Solbar Restaurant in Calistoga. He is preparing turkey for Thanksgiving but will brine and roast the breast while deep frying the leg. This, he says, turns the different parts of the turkey into the best versions of themselves. Accompanying the turkey is one of his personal favorites — sour cream and chive whipped potatoes. At Solbar, Brandon concentrates on making the best possible version of traditional dishes. For the dish, Yukon potatoes are boiled then dried. Add hot sour cream and slowly add in chunks of cold butter (not melted). Sharp explains that using cold butter will result in creamier potatoes, while also letting you use more butter without making the dish too greasy. Whip potatoes and add in desired amount of chopped chives. Brandon recommends Fisher Vineyards “Unity” Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon; Lang & Reed’s “Two Fourteen” Cabernet Franc or Chateau Montelena’s “The Montelena Estate” Zinfandel with dinner.”
Eat Pasta Lose Weight October, 2010 “According to Brandon Sharp, executive chef at Solage’s restaurant, Solbar, “Pasta with veggies is one of the quickest, easiest and most satisfying dishes you can make.” The noodles provide protein and slow releasing engery, while produce addes nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants.”
Michelin Guide Bay Area 2011
October 26, 2010
“The Michelin Guide San Francisco storylines were shared yesterday, and today, the stars are finally out.”
September 20, 2010
“_No no, I think it’s my phone. I just want to make usre I heard you correctly: you did say beef shin right? As in bone-in beef shank.?
Conventional culinary wisdom says to pick a killer ingredient and then build a dish around it. No chef I know would, by choice, begin with beef shin. Choice, however, is not a factor in this exercise (late of my “Sounds Like Fun’ list, new to my “WTFIT?” list), because the beef shin is prescribed, as are 29 other ingredients. It’s a free country, but not when you work with Food Arts on MYSTERY BASKET”
-Chef Brandon Sharp – Food Art September 2010