Our most recent visit to Napa Valley Grille in the prominent Westwood community of Southern California came as no surprise considering Executive Chef Taylor Boudreaux’s culinary focus on flavorsome presentations and memorable flavors. Maryland-born Chef Taylor graduated with a degree in Culinary Arts from the Scottsdale Culinary Institute in Arizona, then moved quickly up the ranks to Mastro’s Steakhouse in the same state. At just 26 years old, Chef Taylor entered the fast-paced Beverly Hills market in California, opening the popular and well-known Mastro’s Steakhouse, then in 2010, worked for Wolfgang Puck at the star-studded Spago. In 2011, Chef Boudreaux was approached to become Executive Chef of Napa Valley Grille in the vibrant Westwood community of Los Angeles, where he delights patrons on a daily basis with his culinary magic and uncanny creations of flavorsome delights.
Upon entering the restaurant, we immediately noticed the lounge area and expansive bar to our right. A luminescent elongated bar with a ceiling depicting a night sky comforted us. We were greeted by a smiling mixologist who ensured us that we would have a terrific time. We were excited to get started perusing the Happy Hour menu. After some suggestions from our server, we started with the “Hibiskus Kosmo” ($8) made with Absolut Hibiscus, cranberry juice, Triple Sec, and fresh squeezed lime juice The second starting libation we selected was the Napa Mule ($6), which was concocted with bourbon, fresh lime juice, ginger sugar, and bitters. The essence of apple and bourbon together with the slight taste of ginger combined nicely with the Napa Mule, while the cranberry and Absolut Hibiskus blended smoothly to create an excellent cocktail with the Hibiskus Kosmo. The vibrant colors of both were also very appealing, as you can see from the below photos… (all photos and full review can be seen at SavorHour.com.)
The Thyme Lemonade was refreshing and a third libation we just had to try. Appealing to the eye, refreshing, and made with fresh lemonade, thyme sugar, vodka, and garnished with a fresh lemon round and fresh thyme, this cocktail scored high marks with us. The sweetness, tang of the citrus and flavorful thyme were perfectly balanced, and left us very satisfied. I especially loved the tall glass this beverage was served in.
There is a pleasing list of small plates during Napa Valley Grille’s Happy Hour. We chose three of these culinary treats from Chef Taylor, and found that every taste was as exciting and flavorful as the first. Our first expedition into experiencing Chef Taylor’s array of culinary bites was the NVG (Napa Valley Grille) Turkey Meatball selection ($6). These tender, perfectly hand-rolled orbs of tantalizing ground turkey were as delicious as they were visually stunning. A tomato fondue accompanied this dish, along with white cheddar and fresh herbs. Served four meatballs to an order, this was a perfect selection to start off for my husband and myself.
If you enjoy Korean BBQ beef skewers, this is a great spot to enjoy them, Chef Taylor prepares these beautiful tender chunks of beef on wooden skewers, then finished the presentation off with a chilled cabbage slaw and a soy vinaigrette. Exploding with savoriness and endless levels of flavor, this is surely not an option to miss.
We also experienced the Duo Of Fish Tacos ($5), which was created by beer battering tender fish, and adding pickled onions, cabbage-escabeche (“escabeche” refers to a hot marinade that slowly pickles (the cabbage) as it cools.) Presented two to an order, these brilliantly colored vessels of spectacular taste and allure grabbed our taste buds’ attention immediately. Colorful and creative, and most importantly, delicious, these edible selections were delectable and savory down to the last crumb on the plate.
We finished with the Beef Slider Duo ($5) that consisted of two perfectly crafted mini hamburger buns which encased juicy petite beef patties. Succulent and also served with a tangy tomato fondue, an olive Aioli, and an unforgettable smoked cheddar cheese, these little guys hit the spot. The one spot we had left after indulging in and enjoying ourselves at Napa Valley Grille’s Happy Hour.
Napa Valley Grille offered us a very pleasant evening in the lounge this particular visit. The ambiance was alluring, the setting was comforting, and the service proved friendly and efficient. We look forward to returning to find out what Chef Taylor has up his culinary sleeve next time!
◾ESTABLISHMENT / DECOR: Walking into Napa Valley Grill delivers patron into an out-of-doors fantasy. Inside the expansive lounge, the ceiling possesses characteristics of a night sky with twinkling stars overhead. Outside on the patio, fresh breezes are appreciated, while guests are enchanted by the evening’s colors of daily fading sunsets.
◾FOOD / DRINK: Fresh, flavorful, memorable in all ways satisfactory. We hope to return again soon to indulge in more at Napa Valley Grille!
◾LOCATION: Napa Valley Grille is located at 1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 100 in Los Angeles, CA 90024.
◾HOURS: The restaurant is available for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:30 AM to 3 PM, Dinner on Mondays through Thursdays from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays from 5 PM to 11 PM, and on Sundays from 5 PM to 9PM. Brunch is accessible on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 Am to 3 PM. Happy Hour is featured Monday through Saturday from 3 Pm to 7 PM and 9 PM to 12 Midnight, and again on Sundays from 3 Pm until 11 PM in the lounge, at the bar, and on the patio.
◾SERVICE / STAFF: A very friendly staff is accommodating, responsive, and the flow of service throughout the lounge and main entry appeared seamless and fluid.
◾PRICE / VALUE: Tasty compilations from Chef Taylor served by friendly staff members anxious to assist in any way they can. Mixologists whip up crisp libations with fresh seasonal ingredients sure to captivate the palates of every visitor, while appetizers summon the attention of dining patrons and keep them coming back for more.
◾CORKAGE FEE: $20 per 750mL bottle in the restaurant as well as the lounge areas.
◾CONTACT INFO: Phone: (310) 824-3322, Website: www.napavalleygrille.com
◾PARKING: We experienced ample parking opportunities along the side streets within nearby walking distance to the restaurant with no problems. We were informed that valet parking service is available daily for $4 for the first two hours, with a $6 maximum during both lunch and dinner hours.
◾PRICING: We visited Napa Valley Grille during Happy Hour and enjoyed the “Hibiskus Kosmo” ($8), the Napa Mule ($6), and the Thyme Lemonade ($6) libations. From a menu of several appetizers, we chose the NVG Turkey Meatballs ($6), the Korean BBQ Beef Skewers ($4), the Duo Of Fish Tacos ($5), and the Beef Slider Duo ($5).