One Quick Bite Part II: Kitchen Door

Armenian-style flatbread pizza at Kitchen Door.

When Martini House restaurant closed in St. Helena in 2010, I was crushed.

With its warm, polished wood interior and bucolic al fresco patio, it was the perfect place year-round to enjoy everything from an outstanding burger to a top-notch prix fixe dinner.

But I couldn’t have been more thrilled to find that Chef Todd Humphries resurfaced last year at the Oxbow Public Market in Napa with his newest restaurant, Kitchen Door.

The marketplace, reminiscent but smaller than the one at the San Francisco Ferry Building, is a mix of food, wine and tea vendors, most of them situated in a large, indoor walk-around space.

But Kitchen Door is an actual separate restaurant located at the rear of the complex. It’s a lively fast-casual establishment with an open kitchen sporting a wood-fired oven and rotisserie.

Recently, on my way home from an assignment in the Napa Valley, I stopped in at Kitchen Door for a quick lunch on my own dime. Place your order at the counter, then the food is brought to your table by a server. Choose a seat inside at the bar with its big-screen TV or at one of the many tables in the large dining room with soaring white beams with a collection of lanterns and copper pots hanging from them. On a sunny afternoon, a table on the patio overlooking the Napa River is perfect spot to hang out.

Service is quite attentive, too. Servers are constantly roaming about, ready to refill water and ice tea glasses or to box-up leftovers for you to take home.

Cooks man the wood-fire oven.

Take a seat to enjoy the action and eats.

The food is all about local, seasonal and comfort. There’s everything from a roast duck banh mi sandwich ($13.75) to a grilled Kobe-style beef burger ($14.50) to Straus soft-serve ($4) with your choice of toppings. Humphries, who often featured my favorite candy cap mushrooms — with their beguiling flavor of maple syrup — in desserts at Martini House, has brought that ingredient over to Kitchen Door in a candy cap mushroom bread pudding ($6.95).

I decided to try one of the restaurant’s most popular offerings: Lahmajune “Armenian Fold and Eat” Flatbread ($15).

The 12-inch-diameter flatbread emerges from the wood-fire oven thin, crisp, and yes, fold-able. Shawarma-like thin, pressed slices of spiced lamb top the flatbread along with crisp romaine leaves, chunks of cucumber, pickled red onion and a drizzle of harissa yogurt. It’s warm and cold, crisp and soft, spicy and cooling — all in one bite.

Kitchen Door is definitely worth the detour off of Highway 29.

One Quick Bite Part I: Wo Hing General Store

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Date: Friday, 13. January 2012 5:26
Trackback: Trackback-URL Category: Chefs, General, Pizza, Restaurants

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12 comments

  1. 1

    That place looks wonderful and the pizza looks incredibly irresistible.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. 2

    The duck banh mi sounds pretty tempting too. ;)

  3. 3

    Love lahmjune. Used to buy it all the time at the Armenian bakeries in Watertown, Mass., a suburb of Boston.

  4. 4

    What a cool & lovely place to dine! apart too! :)

    The pizza looks fabulous! Yum! :)

  5. 5

    Oh the food sounds awesome.
    I am sorry to hear that Martini House closed. When we lived in the Sacramento area I had wanted to go there after seeing it reviewed on one of the local television stations. We didn’t get there before we moved but I had planned on us checking it out when we go back. Sounds like this would be a great place to check out on our trip back. Another place that we really want to check out is Taylors Refresher If you have been I would love it if you would let me know how the food is there.

  6. 6

    Hehe I’d so be there with you taking a detour off the highway! Hubby is always telling me that we can’t stop but if the food is good, why not? :)

  7. 7

    Alicia: Taylor’s is wonderful! I go crazy for the fish tacos, ahi burger and sweet potato fries. Just fyi, because of some legal issues, Taylor’s is now known as Gott’s. http://gotts.com/
    No worries, though, as it’s still the same owners and same fine food.

  8. 8

    This sounds absolutely like something I need in my life. Shawarma pizza and that soft serve…heavenly.

  9. 9

    Y’all are as adventurous as we are — i am all for making a detour to EAT :D

  10. 10

    Dear Carolyn,

    Depending on how far we have to go when travelling, I sometimes prefer not to break the journey even for dunny breaks, but for really good food, the journey can be broken as many times as possible :)

  11. 11

    What a great place!! thanks for sharing!

  12. 12

    […] More Pizza Worth Trying: Armenian Flatbread Pizza at Kitchen Door in Napa […]

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