Cole's Chop House review
Sun-Thu 5:00pm- 9:00pm
Cole's Chop House website
Cole's Chop House dinner menu
Cole's Chop House dessert menu
Located next to, of all places, Ubuntu the vegetable restaurant, in downtown Napa, Cole's Chop House bills itself as the "Classic American Steak House". Although they serve an impressive piece of meat, it is pricey.
Cole's Chop House food
There are some who think that Cole's is the best steak house in the area. There are others that think you're paying for the ambiance to be with Napa's cool people and some nice meat. We lean more towards the latter. Our food was good, but the price tag was a bit much for the meal. One thing about Cole's Chop House is that everything is pretty much a la carte. So, the price tags you see for the meat are only for the meat. It's not like the sides are cheap either.
We've had the Beef Wellington as a special which was something of a treat. Supposedly, Beef Wellington was all the craze in the US around the 60s and then fell out of favor. Since that's before our time, it was fun to have this dish we've heard about often but never actually had. It was tasty with a nice medium rare to rare finish, but that thing was a load. Puff pastry with some gravy surrounding a foie gras layered steak. Eeep.
Since we were at a steak house, I had to try the 16 oz. steak, a 21 Day Chicago Dry-Aged New York Steak sourced from the Allen Brothers (I'd be interested to see why Cole's Chop House sources its meats from the Allen Brothers when cattle farming is a staple of California farming. Is Allen Brothers so much better than the Happy Cows of California that they need to Fed Ex it in constantly?) Hey, it was a really nice juicy, well-seasoned steak. One of the best I've had here. There's very little interfering with the meat. No sauces, nothing else is covering the meat, just you, the meat, and the chef. You have to appreciate the purity.
Cole's Chop House setting and service
Cole's Chop House does have an impressive setting, probably one of the sharpest looking interiors in the city of Napa. From the side that faces downtown Napa, it looks normal enough, but it looks a lot better when you come in through the back of the building (which I suppose is why it's the only way in...). It's in a large 100+ year old stone building which with its deep wood floors and dimmed lights at night makes you feel a bit like you're eating in a really cool hearth. There's a mezzanine level above the main floor that seats 45, and is a big part of the visual oomph of the place when you first walk in. The service was fine.
What surprises me about Cole is how crowded it is despite its prices. I suggest reservations. Maybe Napans really like steak, but I suspect a lot of people go to Cole's just to hang out with the richer, power-broker crowd at Cole's. That crowd is definitely on the higher end of the income spectrum than most restaurants in the city of Napa.
Price of our meal
1 appetizer, 2 glasses of wine, 2 sides, 2 steaks, 1 dessert, tax & tip: $200
Now this is where folks in Napa are really split about Cole's. Nobody denies that it's a fine meal, and that it's a good steak house. But it is a pricey meal, and I can't even honestly say that if I could have one steak from Napa Valley, it would be from Cole's.
Even if you want to talk about luxury meat, it's not like Cole's wins out. I had a Kobe beef portion on a tasting menu from Etoile that was like $70 which was totally outrageous, but that beef was so velvety and rich, I almost passed out. For a general steak dish, my wife prefers the aged ribeye steak at Hurley's.
But overall, if you are a steak afficianado, and you're in the area, then Cole's Chop House will probably get you going. And it has a much different vibe to it than most of the downtown Napa restaurants.