You'll want to tip your own toque in appreciation after a meal at this downtown fine-dining palace in the Westin Verasa Napa, which blends a serious approach to cuisine and service that has just enough cheek to keep things lively. La Toque may display an oversized inflatable chef's hat hanging above its walkway, but the interior is the soul of modern sophistication, with leather-topped tables, a fireplace, and an extensive wine list-proffered on an iPad. The cadre of staff is notable, and the well-trained, knowledgeable waiters move in synchronicity within the celebratory crowd. Choose from a four- or five-course à la carte, beginning with exquisite canapés like perfectly seasoned tuna tartare, clams with apple vinaigrette, or crostini with a terrine of foie gras. Thin slices of beef loin carpaccio are lightly smoked, then artfully presented to resemble a flower, topped with creamy tuna sauce, sautéed wild mushroom, and dried tomato. Intense Lebanese spices come to life in wonderfully tender braised squid with dates, almond, cauliflower and a spoonful of Greek yogurt. Desserts like the triple-baked, butter-crunch cake with apple underscore the homey, glamorous, delicious character of the restaurant itself.
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