Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NYC in Napa

Negronis on tap and five-star fare at the former Fagiani's


Whether it's Buster Posey's all-star season or Apple's return from the brink of bankruptcy, the Bay Area is full of comeback stories.

Here's one more: The Thomas, now open in the three-decades-vacant Fagiani's space (yes, that Fagiani's) in downtown Napa.

The team behind NYC's Michelin-starred PUBLIC took pains to preserve much of the first-level bar (now called Fagiani's at The Thomas). That stool you're sitting on? It may be freshly reupholstered in black leather, but it's an original.

As is the bar rail, which men leaned on from the days of bowler hats to bell bottoms.

But this is Napa. Sunshine and sweeping views are a big part of the draw. Which is why you're heading two stories up to the roof. Don't worry, there's a bar up there, too. So it's easy to enjoy a sundowner Pimm's Cup as you soak up a few extra rays overlooking the Napa River.

Dine al fresco, or head one flight down to watch the sommelier sidestep the 1,300 bottles housed inside the glass catwalk-like wine room hovering above your table. Also hovering: extra chairs hanging Shaker-style on the walls, and your hand as you debate whether it's rude to snag the last bite of warm monkey bread.

Just do it. You can always order seconds.

The Thomas
813 Main St., Napa

Price: 2 (out of 4)
Parking: Street, or the free lot on nearby Second Street.
Best bets: Seafood tower, California crudité, grilled Monterey Bay squid with sweet chili sauce, warm monkey bread
Hot seat: Anywhere on the rooftop terrace
Wine program: This being Napa, around 65 percent of the wines are familiar local names interspersed with under-the-radar finds. And don't hesitate to ask the sommelier about pairings. He's got a great way of not only finding the right one, but also explaining why it works -- in layman's terms
Brunch: Kick off a weekend or day trip with bloody marys and French toast stuffed with banana and Nutella.
Nearby: Oxbow Public Market; Morimoto Napa; Ubuntu

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