Torc: A Feast For Your Senses
After spending an entire day tasting in Napa Valley, one can grow weary of wine. I didn't think it was humanly possible, but after visiting several vineyards throughout Napa and Coombsville, this girl needed a cocktail.
This particular trip to Napa was unlike any other. Ordinarily, I have dinners along with our tastings planned out, but given the fact that I've logged several trips to wine country, I decided to roll the dice and let things happen as they may. Sometimes this is the best way to find out about new restaurants because despite what we think, not everything is on the internet! Ha!
During our last tasting of the day, which happened to be at my new favorite winery, Italics, our guide recommended that we check out Torc. In addition to the "best" happy hour in Napa, Torc is known for its delicious cuisine.
Given the popularity of Torc, we dropped our wine purchases off at the hotel, grabbed and Uber and off we went. Luckily, we made it as they were opening the doors and we snagged two seats at the bar.
Torc is owned and operated by husband and wife duo Sean and Cynthia O'Toole. Sean is the mastermind and culinary genius in the kitchen while Cynthia is focused on all things wine. She has curated a wine list that showcases some exquisite wines, yet remains approachable for those newer oenophiles.
First things first, we ordered a cocktail and then perused the menu. As I was writing this, I looked at the Happy Hour menu and was quickly reminded that we basically ordered EVERYTHING on the menu with the exception of the soft-shelled crab. The only reason that dish didn't make the cut was due to the fact that there was a Black Truffle Grilled Cheese on the menu and you all know that was happening.
Our first was dish was the Farm Fresh Deviled Eggs served with pickled onion and topped with bacon. Aren't the unusual but gorgeous? I loved a twist on a classic dish. Needless to say, these were devoured in a matter of minutes.
Seeing the word quesadilla is almost like seeing the word truffle, it's a must order. Torc's Face-Melter Quesadilla was no exception. In addition to being filled with cheese and short rib, the quesadilla was topped with onions and a habanero cream sauce that will literally melt your face off. My mouth was on fire but it didn't stop me for going back for seconds. In fact, this was one of my favorites from the menu.
Our next dish had quite the timely arrival as it helped subdue the heat from the last dish. Straight from the kitchen were Bengali Sweet Potato Pakora + Yogurt + Truffle Dip.
The time had come to order what was, in fact, the star of the dinner, the Black Truffle Grilled Cheese. Taking a cue from some regulars that were at the bar, we ordered the Jamón Ibérico to have with our Black Truffle Grilled Cheese. What a mouthwatering combination. While I didn't have the Jamon with every bite (I really wanted to enjoy the decadent truffle), it made the bite perfection.
Can you see how many truffles are on this sandwich? If you remember the truffle grilled cheese I ordered at RH Cafe, you recall that it was quite loaded with specs of truffle. Torc's grilled cheese far exceeded my truffle expectations. Each bite had whole slices of Black Perigord Truffle sandwiched between melted Fontina cheese. It goes without saying, I savored each and every bite.
We concluded our feast with two of the four desserts on the menu. The first was Silverado Trail Strawberries + Cream Cheese Ice Cream + Pistachio Tellicherry Pepper which proved to be light and refreshing and exactly what was needed after the grilled cheese. The goat cheese ice cream coupled with the strawberries was reminiscent of a bite of cheesecake.
Our final dessert of the evening was Fig Ice Cream. Torc has a featured ice cream/sorbet that changes daily and we were fortunate to enjoy the fig. While I expected it to be much sweeter, clearly I've eaten too many fig newtons, it was light and creamy. My partner in dine wasn't the biggest fan, but I really enjoyed it.
While Napa Valley is filled with Michelin stars, award-winning chefs, and World's 50 best restaurants, it doesn't mean you have to dine at one of those establishments to have an incredible dining experience. We happened upon Torc by complete chance and it happens to be one of my favorites in the valley. Given that the menu changes often, I look forward to what Chef O'Toole has in store for me in October when I return!
Tariff: Bar Happy Hour is from 5:00-6:30 p.m. Wednesday- Monday. Bites are between $5.00- $9.00. However, the Black Truffle Grilled Cheese was off the Black Truffle Festival Menu and was $48.00. Entrees on the dinner menu range from $13.00-$91.00.
Can't-Miss: Even though I am a truffle enthusiast, my two can't miss dishes are the Face Melter Quesadilla and the Deviled Eggs. While both are simple dishes, Torc's unique twist on each will leave you pleasantly surprised.
Potential Pass: Even though the Pakora had a timely arrival, that is one dish I could probably skip next time.
Until Next Time!