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A New Chapter for Napa's Fish Story

By: Deirdre Bourdet

Chef Scott Ekstrom (formerly of Angèle) took over the stoves last month at Napa Valley's Fish Story, and has quietly set in motion what he calls "an evolution, not a revolution." Working with the team at Lark Creek Restaurant Group, Ekstrom is angling to make Fish Story the premiere seafood specialist of Napa Valley, and a destination restaurant for Bay Area food-lovers generally.

Ekstrom says the menu is moving away from the "simply prepared" theme (though such preparations will always be available upon request) in favor of more creative, composed dishes that better convey a sense of place. Emphasizing local products, wines, and produce from Fish Story's plots in the Copia gardens, he aims to offer guests a place-specific menu with a wide variety of choices – dishes that range from light to heavy, with both homey comfort food and more esoteric adventures available. The lunch menu will also get revamped with many more sandwiches, non-seafood items, and vegetable soups.

Ekstrom's prior experience at some of Manhattan's best fine dining establishments set him up beautifully for Fish Story's top toque. His work at Oceana and at Daniel Boulud's flagship restaurant Daniel certainly seem to have informed his style and sensibilities, judging from the newest additions to the Fish Story menu. An elegant wild sturgeon with nettle pesto, chanterelle mushrooms, applewood smoked bacon, and hazelnut vinaigrette ranks as one of the best fish preparations in Napa Valley, in this author's opinion. Meaty grilled escolar with Brentwood corn, charred escarole, Copia garden tomatoes, and frothy basil "milk" also shows off the kitchen’s new energy and talent in truly delicious fashion.

Ekstrom says he plans to phase in new dishes gradually, gauging diners' response and tweaking them as needed. All the more reason to get in there as often as you can.

Fish Story | 790 Main Street at Third, Napa CA 94559 | 707.251.5600