Ubuntu has garnered a lot of acclaim over the past year for its different take on vegetarian fare. The food seemingly takes three tracks, presumably functions of creative desires and financial reality. One is standard, safe vegetarian fare that includes pizzas and pastas – boring 1 – but probably necessary for the business model. A second is the re-creation of meat-like dishes using vegetables. While more interesting than the first, if for no other reason than French Laundry-like irony, that take on vegetables always seemed pointless to me. The real magic, however, can be found in evocative dishes that showcase the Napa seasons. These dishes clearly have Michel Bras etched into their DNA, the countryside on a plate.
Crisp Chickpea & Flowering ROSEMARY sphere – stuffed with romesco
I have made a habit of stopping in quarterly, though blog entries are less frequent, to check out new dishes. Last year, Julot: Ze Blog and I went and he proclaimed it one of the most exciting US restaurants he had visited on his trip. I agreed but it was not in my top tier – it had hints of greatness but often settled for casual comfort-type food. Subsequent meals saw the menu changing, creeping ever so upscale with each return visit, but still fractured between comfort and haute, stuck in a minor identity crisis.