Atlas Social: a fun new way to eat in downtown historic Napa

Only a ten minute walk from The Inn On First, a Napa Bed and Breakfast Inn, is a new restaurant that is getting a lot of buzz for its food.  So last week when our friends, Guy and Christina DeMarco, were in town we joined in the fun. No reservations taken.  It’s a drop in and “be social” kind of place.

Lots of small plates to choose from, really a restaurant for sharing everything on the table. The Herb Leaf Fries were just yummy for a starter as was the Dungeness Crab Toasts with sweet and sour sauce.  Jamie really enjoyed the Twice Fried Brussels Sprouts (you all know I am a hater) and the Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Blood Oranges was spectacularly fun to eat with a lovely contrast of grill marks and the sweet yet slightly acidic orange.  We couldn’t pass up the “Angry” Shrimp cocktail with chilies and orange, although Guy thought they were more “Mildly Pissed Off” with regard to the “heat” factor.

We all dug into and loved the Garlic and Chili Roasted Dungeness Crab with Grilled Bread and spicy aioli.  Wowza!  Just make sure to ask for extra napkins as this is a finger feast with forks given to each person to extract the meat.  Don’t worry, they have these lovely wet towels with lemon to clean up at the end.

Also got a chance to try to the Roasted Quail with Soy Glaze, and that was just delicious.  Oh, how the menu tempted us to purchase more, but beware!, these dishes creep up on you slowly and suddenly you find you simply cannot partake of another bite.  I passed on dessert as I am currently/temporarily no dairy, and everything had dairy in it.

It just means another trip within the month to sample another 1/4 of the menu.  I still want to try the Atlas jacks (sweet and spicy cracker jacks), the Crudo with Preserved Kumquat, the Red Curry Mussels, and the Rabbit Pot Pie.  Prices range from $5 to 9$ for Snacks, $8 to $20 for small plates, and $34 to $42 for the larger platters to be shared by up to four people.  Wine bar only available, by the glass and the bottle.  Plenty of Vegetarian options, and I was unable to find out at the end how they manage Vegans or Gluten-free.

Seating tip: they have high tables in front with stool seating, but ask if there are any tables available in the back that are more like booths (not a lot of them) where it feels more restarauntish vs. clubby.