Popular Napa chef, Sean O’Toole opens the doors to Torc on Monday, Nov. 25, ending more than a year of speculation as to who would go into the former vegetarian restaurant/yoga studio, Ubuntu. Biteclub’s a big fan of O’Toole, who has roots in Sonoma County, and has cooked at a number of high-profile Bay Area restaurants including SF’s Cotogna and Quince and Napa Valley’s Bardessono and Hopper Creek Kitchen.
We’re especially excited to hear about his plans to showcase finds from superstar forager Connie Green (a Good Food Award nominee and author of “The Wild Table”) on his menu. His opening lineup includes Bengali Sweet Potato Pakora with Yogurt-Truffle Dip ($5), Violet Artichoke Soup with Chanterelle Mushrooms, Mint and Lemon ($10), Jamón Ibérico with Grilled Garlic Crouton ($15), Dungeness Crab Salad with Buddha Hand, Satsuma Mandarin, Avocado and Herb Salad ($14), Housemade Strozzapreti with Pecorino Romano, Tellicherry Pepper and Dino Kale ($13), Hudson Ranch Heritage Pork with Cheddar Grits, Collard Greens and Mustard Sauce ($25) and Roasted Chicken for Two with Black Spice, Coconut Rice and Spicy Bok Choy ($41). Dessert includes items like Mt. Tam Cheese with Piment D’Espelette Marmalade and Pickled Chanterelles ($6) and Napa Meyer Lemon Tart with Smoked Hazelnut Ganache and Sable Breton ($9).
Insiders say not much has been done to the chic space since its Ubuntu days, including the open kitchen and soaring 30 foot ceilings. The former yoga studio has been converted to a private dining area.
The curious name, Torc, pays homage to O’Toole’s Celtic roots, meaning “boar” in Gaelic. But to the chef, it’s an emblem of convivial feasting and hospitality. The restaurant will open for dinner only from 5:30 to 9p.m. daily, with brunch service starting in January.
1140 Main St. at Pearl St., Napa, (707) 252-3292. torcnapa.com.