St. Helena Bistro, St. Helena, Ca.

The Brit and I met fellow blogger Penny Sadler from Adventures of a carry on for lunch at St. Helena Bistro on a Sunday afternoon. It was just after lunch time and it was a perfect place to enjoy lunch and get to know our guest a little better.

The restaurant is a cute little place with a few outside tables. The interior is done in chalk black and off white with bits of cream. I thought it was welcoming and had a nice ambiance about the place. The wait staff was friendly and very attentive. Menus and water were brought quickly.

After what seemed like only moments we all ordered glasses of wine and they were delivered to us. I ordered the Frank Family Chardonnay for my lunch. It’s a nice sip, served at a good temperature, feeling a bit weighty in the mouth. I like this chardonnay, it is creamy and oaky but doesn’t have an overwhelming feeling of being out of balance.

The Brit ordered the Hawaiian burger, I ordered the steak taco salad, and our guest Penny ordered the fish of the day special. Our food was plated nicely and we all took our required photos before digging in.

The Brit’s Hawaiian avocado burger was absolutely huge on the plate. On the burger was grilled pineapple, avocado slices, and a¬†honey mustard aioli. It came with a nice big side of garlic truffle fries. I stole one of the fries from his plate and it was ok, but not outstanding. They tasted so overly truffled that they tasted fake. That is the best way I can describe it. Truffles or truffle oil has a very overpowering flavor and needs to be used as an accent, and not as the whole flavor profile. When I asked The Brit about the flavor and preparation of his burger he said it was good, but again, it wasn’t anything that he would say WOW to.

My steak salad was good. It had a lot of meat and the veggies were all crisp and fresh tasting. The taco shell it was served in was not greasy and I liked the the black beans they added for texture. It was a very large salad, and I managed to eat only half of it. The portions are for sure generous. There was nothing innovative to the dish, it was just fine.

Penny’s fish arrived and it looked like the best dish out of the three. It was pan-fried fish topped with capers with a butter lemon sauce and braised artichoke salad. It was served with a side of french fries. I think the french fries were a weird pairing with the fish, but she seemed to be satisfied and ate it.

When we had finished our meals, we talked about what we thought about them. Our only complaint was the fact that every single dish was over salted. The table next to us heard us talking and they agreed that their food too was way over salted. I think the oversalting really let the food down, which was a shame as it all seemed nicely prepared. As the portions were so large, none of us had any room for dessert.

All and all the food was ok, the service was good and the general feeling was nice. The chef needs to cut way back on the salt so that the other delicious flavors of the food come through.

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