Poor Sports

The Napa Valley Grille and Café plays the name game

The "salad, salad everywhere" credo makes for redundancies, though, so order carefully. A tapas trio, a misnomer given that the three prime players are Middle Eastern, is composed of some fairly good hummus and baba ghannoujh, and also contains a wealth of Greek salad rife with feta cheese. Vegetarian options like the roasted vegetable wrap with garlicky mayonnaise are wholesome and satisfying but again paired with greens. If you want something starchy, either mashed or fried, with your entrée, look to the meats. Burgers and filet mignon are indeed made-to-order -- we know because one member of my party had to wait an extra 20 minutes for his piece of beef to arrive -- and tend to be acceptable flavor-wise, even if molded and cut a bit on the thin side.

Salad, salad, salad, roasted vegetable wrap, salad, and salad -- hold the salad
Colby Katz
Salad, salad, salad, roasted vegetable wrap, salad, and salad -- hold the salad

On the flip side, sweets such as the sticky brownie or banana split, both topped with a virtual volcano of ice cream, fudge, and nuts, are generous and amiable, making for a nice after-action-movie treat. But as a whole, Napa Valley Grille and Café is, at the moment at least, not bringing its "A" game. Here's a few coaching tips: Find a proofreader. Train the staff. Ditch the wholesale-warehouse membership and the microwaves. And most important, if the name Napa Valley Grille and Café is to be retained, hire a sommelier or at least lean on your wine distributor for more than a little advice in expanding the quaffing list. Most important of all: Just relax, take things one game at a time, and the good Lord willing, things will work out.

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