The project of Jonathan Waxman and Steven Singer, West County Grill is a large, airy restaurant with exposed brick, plywood on the ceiling and wooden tables and chairs. Lot of large prints on the walls give it a NY Warehouse style ambiance. Thus saying, at lunch it was a bright and cheerful spot. It is likely to be exceptionally loud when full as there is little to absorb sound. The kitchen prominently boasts a wood-burning oven and raw oysters on ice are on display.
A blackboard offers today's Fra'Mani salumi line-up. The patio is a pleasant place to sit as well but there are only 6 tables so if you want to sit outside you should make a reservation. There is also lots of bar seating both at the bar and around the kitchen.
The menu changes frequently (daily?) and is similar at lunch and dinner. We found the service friendly but flighty. We enjoyed our meal and intend to return soon.
Update December 2007: We've been to dinner three more times and still consider West County Grill a pleasant spot - but it can be expensive at dinner and would be a better choice for lunch.* See Dinner in October notes below.
What we ordered:
Prosciutto di Parma with Cantaloupe
Hefty slices of sweet ripe melon wrapped with fluffy thinly sliced prosciutto. Not the best ever but certainly a great flavor-start despite the poorly scraped melon which included a seed at the table.
Rucola Salad with Fresh Ricotta and Figs
A rustic salad. The figs were ripe and sweet - one or two more figs or a bit more ricotta would have make this salad better as it was heavier on the wild arugula and lighter on the ricotta/figs. The idea behind it was good.
Pizza Margherita: Fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil
The sauce was very different - almost a smokey flavor to it. Not sure if I like it or not. The tomatoes that topped the pizza were added after cooking to keep it from getting soggy. Too bad they seemed pretty standard grade tomatoes with little taste (and tomatoes are in-season!) The crust was nice!
Catch of the Day: Local Salmon
Boasting that it was locally caught, it was very good. Jack would happily go back and have this dish again.
JW's Chicken & Fries: Grilled Fulton Valley Chicken with Fries and Wild Watercress
Very juicy and tender. Good flavor. The fries
weren't quite perfectly crisp but they were good quality and easy to eat. The
watercress was lovely. (Not excited it was Fulton Valley.)
2005 Jermann Vinnae (Ribolla) - didn't show that well, but a recent taste elsewhere shows this wine is really quite good.
The wine list is good enough that you don't need to bring your own wine.
Sparkling water offered is Calistoga in single serve bottles.
*An October Dinner 2007:
Fritto Misto of Summer Vegetables
Really fun. Lots of squash, onion and red pepper. Coating was light and aioli just a bit spicy. Very nice.
County Line Lettuces
Beautiful greens. Not much more to say.
Once again failed to impress me. The toppings were tiny bits, making the texture err on the wrong side of pleasant. It's just not right.
Lamb Entree Special
Chocolate Almond Cake
A lot of almond to chocolate. Jack and Trent really liked it. I thought it was a bit over-board on the almond.
A bit too dry for my taste. The bread had not had enough custard with it and, it needed a wet element, like whipped cream, sauce or ice cream, to carry it.
It was fantastic to see a kitchen in such excitement to cook something completely off their usual menu. The author, Niloufer Ichaporia King, was in the kitchen at West County Grill. She also found time to visit almost every table, chatting and sitting at times.
The inspiration for this dinner, was the release of her new cookbook: My Bombay Kitchen: Traditional and Modern Parsi Home Cooking. It is the first book published in the United States on Parsi food written by a Parsi. We can't wait to recreate those cashews!
Amuse: toasted papads,watermelon radish pickles, cashews with ajwain
Loved the lime juice and salt on the watermelon radish.
The cashews had just enough spiciness to make them evolve into a new experience. Jack asked for some to go - and he doesn't like cashews.
The papads were good - crispy and spicy.
Bhajjias and Kachi Keri ni Chatni:fried farmers' market vegetables in chickpea flour with fresh green mango chutney
The chickpea flour made the coating crunchy and it was nice to see seasonal vegetables (including baby eggplant), as well as a mild fresh cheese, and the plate included coated and fried ajawain leaves (a nice touch!). The green mango was really good on its own, but the fried pieces didn't need it, as they were great on their own. I hated to send the green mango away.
Khari Machhi: talapia, shrimp and mussels in tomato and cilantro broth with basmati rice
The shrimp and shellfish were perfectly done and the broth and rice were wonderful. The tilapia was a bit overdone and a bland, main element. Enjoyable overall.
Bhujelu Gos:twice cooked lamb shoulder with firoza's khichri, roasted pumpkin crescents with curry leaves and kale with seared ginger
Wonderful flavor. I adored the pumpkin crescents, which were soft and slightly caramelized. The mashed potatoes with caraway was a surprise and a subtle nice accompaniment. The lamb was served dry and the only thing that might have improved it would have been a light dipping sauce. The spinach was fresh and well cooked. Watercress Salad:with asian pears, pomegranite seeds and green coriander vinaigrette
The watercress was fresh and crisp but could have been separated to make it easier to eat. The addition of asian pear and pomegranite was visually lovely, and the dressing was light enough to hold it together and offset the watercress (but still be a subtle complement). It was a weird finish to an Indian meal for us... it seemed like a California salad.
Jardalu Ice Cream Sandwiches
We liked the elements but, all-combined, everything was too subtle and there was no star. The ice cream needed more punch or the cookie more flavor. The good part was that it was not too sweet which was really nice. I loved the poached date.
You may notice that we do not give out a lot of praise. Having been to so many high-quality restaurants, it's pretty tough to impress us.
Most of our reviews are based on just one visit. We neither have the time nor the money (or often, the inclination) to visit most restaurants multiple times. So, please keep in mind that a single-visit review is a snapshot - the restaurant may be "on it" that day - or not. If the meal has a calamity involved (foreign objects in the food, wine poured on us, etc.) we try not to let it shade the overall review.
We pay for the food and beverages; restaurants never comp us. We try to be discreet about taking photos so that the staff doesn't notice/get an idea we're going to do a review. We rarely take notes in the restaurant.
Like the rest of our website, we update our restaurant review pages based upon subsequent visits.