San Francisco Chronicle - Three Stars
"One of the joys of eating at La Toque is the pairings created by Frank, sommelier Yoon Ha and wine director Scott Tracy. With pristine Bluefin tuna sashimi and fresh wasabi root, they match a 2007 Franz Hirtzberger Gruner Veltliner from Austria that helps to clean the palate without overpowering the delicate fish. Frog’s legs, fried and placed on top of fried green tomato in a puddle of garlic puree and a ring of sauce verte, were a perfect foil for the 2005 Ladoucette Pouilly Fume.
I’d be hard pressed to find wine matches that are as good as what Scott Tracy and Yoon Ha have provided for Ken Frank’s menu at La Toque.
What’s doubly clear is that Frank is an active partner in the process. Unlike chefs who create a dish and leave it to the wine guys to find the best match they can, Frank willingly adjusts dishes to bring out the best in the wine; in so doing he often brings out the best in the food."
The Press Democrat
Napa’s La Toque is tops
"Chef Frank’s culinary creations are on a par with the best in the Napa Valley, and may very well be the best. That’s because his food is visually pretty; it’s well-thought-out, so you can follow along with his happy inspirations as you enjoy the interlocking aromas, flavors and textures, and he cooks with a light touch, even though he’s an accomplished saucier.
When you leave the table, you’re satisfied but not satiated. Your response at the end of the meal might be to say to yourself, “I have got to get back here.”
But what’s food without wine? That’s where wine director Scott Tracy comes in. He, Frank and sommelier Yoon Ha choose the wines.
This group pairs wine with every dish on the menu, and they do it with unerring taste. You get the pleasure of always having the right wine with the right dish. What if your idea of “the right wine” differs from the suggested pairing? Just trust Tracy and crew. You don’t take a class from Michael Jordan on how to make layups in order to argue with him about footwork."
USA Today - December 26,2008 These eats were real treats of '08
Lamb loin with cumin scented carrot puree
2010 Michelin Guide -
“…a large illuminated toque (or chef‘s hat) and pretty, timber verandah mark the way into the restaurant‘s beautiful new digs—a contemporary dining room soaked in soothing earth tones broken up by the occasional bright dot of fresh flowers. Though La Toque‘s impressive wine inventory has slimmed down with the move, the list is still wildly on point, as is the wine service—in fact, some might argue that Scott Tracy, who usually weaves an engaging story around each selection, is the best wine director in Napa. All the better to enjoy Frank‘s contemporary fare, which spins to the season but might include perfectly-seared foie gras, surrounded by diced mango and paired with a slice of toasted brioche; or tender, boneless slices of lamb loin over a cumin-spiced carrot purée, and paired with a small stack of chick pea fries.”
The Wine Spectator
"A heightened wine sensibility informs this quintessential wine country restaurant, reminiscent of comfy lodges in Burgundy or the Loire... The wine list is long enough to include some of California's hottest wineries (Staglin, Alban, Paradigm) and some depth in Bordeaux (mostly back to 1982) and eclectic enough to embrace a goodly number of nifty curiousities."
Note: La Toque was named by the Wine Spectator as one of the best 20 restaurants in America in its March 31, 2000 issue.
Monty and Sara Preiser
The State of the Napa Dining Experience –Winter, 2008-09
"La Toque, long one of our favorite places in the world, has left its home of ten years in bucolic up valley Rutherford, and moved to a gorgeous and inviting room at the new Westin in expanding downtown Napa. What has not changed is the superbly creative fine contemporary cuisine offered by Chef Ken Frank, or perhaps the world’s best wine program, overseen by legendary Scott Tracy and ably administered by one of the Valley’s sterling up and coming sommeliers, Yoon Ha. La Toque now offers the option to limit or expand the number of courses desired, rather than require a five or six course experience as it did in Rutherford. A full bar to accompany the unparalleled wine list is also available.
Few restaurants can match La Toque in terms of classical elegance, service, ambiance, or its ability to deliver dishes that seem to offer layer after layer of compatible flavors and textures. The lamb loin with cumin scented carrot puree was just named one of the country’s best ten dishes by USA Today. Finally, it is rare to find a room of this caliber with staff so professional AND so welcoming.
BIG HINT: Call far enough in advance to reserve either the Chef’s table or one of the booths with a view of the kitchen."
"Exciting restaurants abound in the Napa Valley nowadays, but La Toque honors timeless French culinary aesthetics while embracing the richness and boldness of contemporary California with a passion and sureness rarely found anywhere."
Restaurant Critic for Gourmet
"The born-again La Toque is a dream come true - a wine-country restaurant for serious diners...For all his fondness for foie gras, Frank's touch is so light and his menu so well designed that there's no sense of heaviness when you get up from the table, even if you've chosen a supplemental cheese selection...Moving to wine country may be the smartest decision Ken Frank ever made."
Wine X Magazine
"...this is probably the finest restaurant in Napa Valley. Take it! Yeah, baby."
"Half of the fun of being at La Toque is the inspired pairing of the four-glass wine package with the prix fixe five-course tasting menu. The other half is sampling of Frank's ever-changing array of light, French-inspired dishes."
Restaurant Critic for Sidewalk San Francisco
"How does that adage go?" 'In heaven, the mechanics are German, the lovers are Italian...' Add to that, 'and the sommeliers are from La Toque.' "Rarely do you find a staff as well versed in wine as this one, yet so casual about it. Add to this fair pricing (given the surroundings and all), and you have a benchmark to which other restaurants should aspire
The Wine Spectator
"Even among chefs cooking in wine country, Ken Frank has an extraordinary interest in wine, and it shows in his food. Frank's flavor and texture palette relies on classically French techniques, which he caries with an American sense of freedom and whimsy. The results take to wine as seamlessly as Frank's light, fragile hollandaise sauce melds to white asparagus in one of the chef's perfectly rendered dishes... for a complete food and wine experience, no restaurant in Napa Valley can match La Toque. Frank's food is impeccable, and the servers handle the complex menu options with aplomb."
Restaurant Critic for KGO, ABC Radio in San Francisco
"Ken Frank is preparing a terrific price fixe menu. He's a chef who cut his teeth in Southern California and is now in the Napa Valley...He's cooking up a storm at La Toque ...The wine selections with the menu is a terrific way to sample new wines with foods...The combinations I had were sheer genius...I want to welcome Ken Frank to the Napa Valley...He's doing it the right way...."
"What makes La Toque's French-style cuisine so amazing is the pairing of wine and food. As Frank said as I left recently 'Have you ever seen so many people enjoying such great wines?' No."