Mustards Grill

7399 St. Helena Highway

Napa, CA 94558

Tel. 1 707 944-2424


The Food:

Ahi Tuna Crackers, Wasabi Cream, San Bai Su

Dungeness Crab Cakes, Espelette Aioli, Garden Greens, Sherry Vinaigrette

Little Gem Caesar Salad, Black Pepper Croutons, Parmigiano-Reggiano

The Ever-Popular Seafood Tostada

Half-Pound Cheeseburger

The Wines:

2016 Vilmart & Cie. Grand Cellier d’Or 93
2021 Littorai Chardonnay B.A. Thieriot Vineyard 96
2020 Louis Michel & Fils Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos   93

A Napa Valley institution, Mustards Grill remains a consistently fine spot to enjoy contemporary American comfort food at its finest. Chef/Owner Cindy Pawlcyn and her team, led by Managing Partner Sean Knight and Executive Chef Michael Foster, serve up a menu of what they call “Deluxe Truck Stop Classics.” I can’t say I have ever seen a truck stop with food like this, though. At a time when so many things change so fast, Mustards is one of my favorite places to eat when I am in Napa Valley.

Ahi Tuna Crackers, Wasabi Cream, San Bai Su

The ambiance is immediately inviting. Servers deftly work their way through the bustling dining room, satiating the needs of hungry patrons. Reservations are essential, as the small dining room is usually packed. I often prefer the bar, although it is small and often full. Snag one of the few seats, and you are very likely to run into a winemaker or two, as Mustards is extremely popular with locals.

Dungeness Crab Cakes, Espelette Aioli, Garden Greens, Sherry Vinaigrette

I confess I don’t stray too far from my favorites. Then again, I see no reason to. The Ahi Tuna Crackers are a fabulous light starter. Cool tuna, crisp crackers and spicy wasabi cream work well together. Rich but not too heavy, the Dungeness Crab Cakes are another highlight. I could eat this food all day. Although not the most creative choice on my part, the Caesar Salad is reliably tasty. After a long trip of tasting, fresh greens are pretty great.

The Ever-Popular Seafood Tostada

Among the mains, I almost always go for Mustards’ Seafood Tostada. Lightly breaded fish (the selection changes from day to day) is served atop a fresh tortilla. Generous toppings of vibrant greens and vegetables add freshness to balance lush black beans and other richer elements on the palate. The Half-Pound Cheeseburger is another superb option. Seasoned and cooked to perfection, the burger never lasts long on my plate.

Mustards offers an extensive wine list printed on the back of the food menu. Wines are sorted in order of price, which is not the easiest format to deal with. Even so, there are plenty of choices to satisfy all tastes and budgets.

The Half-Pound Cheeseburger at the bar. A perfect combination in my book.

Vilmart’s 2016 Grand Cellier d’Or is perfect after a long day of tastings. I continue to be impressed with the 2016s, especially as early views of this vintage were so mixed. Light and airy, with lovely floral and citrus inflections, the 2016 is in fine shape. All the classic Vilmart signatures of finesse are very much in evidence. What a beautiful wine this is.

I was delighted to find Littorai's 2021 Thieriot Chardonnay on the list. It emerges from the Taylor Lane District, one of the most important sub-regions within the West Sonoma Coast. The Thieriot is consistently the most tightly wound of Ted Lemon’s Chardonnays. Now, with a few years in bottle, the 2021 is ready to deliver maximum pleasure, and that it does. Citrus, chalk, mint, white pepper and crushed rocks all race across the palate. This is a benchmark wine from Littorai. I loved it.

Chablis is another wine that is near and dear to my heart. The 2020 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos from Louis Michel is a thought-provoking wine. On the one hand, it is quite open and accessible, on the other hand, that is not really the archetype of Chablis. Or at least, what Chablis used to be. I would have liked to see a bit more verve, but that is increasingly hard to come by in our climate change-challenged world. Overall, this is a relatively light style for Les Clos, with lovely aromatic depth and fine balance, but not quite the level of excitement I had hoped for.

I don’t usually eat dessert (although the occasional pie here is hard to resist) as I find sugar can interfere with tasting. Readers with a sweet tooth will find plenty to like among the dessert offerings. The Lemon-Lime Tart with meringue is a suitably decadent option, very much in line with the overall Mustards experience.

Readers visiting Napa Valley have a great many choices for dining these days, ranging from very casual cuisine all the way up to fancy, starred restaurants. Delicious food, attentive service and a large wine selection place Mustards squarely at the top of my list when I am in town.

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