In celebration of its 10-year anniversary in 2010, Napa Valley Grille, located in Los Angeles’s Westwood Village neighborhood has infused a unique perspective into the Los Angeles dining scene. The result is a reinvigorated restaurant that offers diners an exceptional, chef-driven fine-dining experience that is approachable and built around a commitment to create personalized experiences for all guests.
This is exemplified through Executive Chef Joseph Gillard’s personal labor of love, the new Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which allows patrons to share in the rewards of family farming by collecting a weekly selection of fresh produce and artisanal products during the growing season. At Napa Valley Grille, ingredients from artisan purveyors are at the foundation of the menus, and the new CSA program provides guests with a convenient way to participate in what Gillard fondly calls “the new co-op.” “It’s about obtaining exceptional products directly from the source, honoring them, and preparing them in a simple, honest fashion,” he says.
Gillard was raised in Fremont, MI, on a 40-acre homestead where his mother raised goats, chickens, rabbits, pigs, pheasants, and cows. The family’s large vegetable garden and market stand where they sold their goods provided sustenance and income, making a lasting impression on Gillard as to the integrity and beauty of local and seasonal food products. At Napa Valley Grille, Gillard continues his support and work with local family farms including husband-wife team, Kathy and Michael Feig at Country Fresh Herbs in Tarzana and Somis, CA.
Leading this new version of the farm-to-table trend, CSA members stop by Napa Valley Grille each Wednesday to pick up their delivery of the farm’s produce, along with cooking tips and recipe cards from Gillard. A sample winter harvest CSA basket includes Butter Lettuce, Acorn Squash, Organic Baby Greens, Pomegranate, Watermelon Radish, Purple Carrots, Blood Oranges, Meyer Lemons, Apple Pears, Sour Oranges, Baby Zucchini, Baby Lettuce Heads, and Organic Baby Greens. In addition, once a year, CSA “subscribers” meet at Napa Valley Grille for a celebratory dinner. Costs vary depending on the number of seasons customers sign up for, with 13-week seasons ranging from $455-520 or a full year for $1,900.
Q: What was the inspiration behind the current NVG menu?
A: The spring season, sustainable products like halibut.
Q: What are your favorite Farmers markets in Los Angeles?
A: Studio City, I go every Sunday and Santa Monica is the largest as well as our fledgling West market.
Q: Does the cheese selection on the menu change seasonally? What inspires your cheese selection on the menu?
A: The cheese list changes based on availibility of product. We use many small farmstead producers and sometimes the supply is interrupted. The supply is interrupted due to the fact that the farms are small farmstead cheese makers (using only the milk from their animals). Some times the cheese becomes popular and they simply run out (particularly if the cheese in question takes longer to age). For instance i am on a special order for the Winnimere (can only get two at a time every two weeks) because of the small supply, I can’t place on the menu as i would only have it for several days. I prefer to offer it to people as a “special product”.
The pasteurization dilemma. Pasteurization kills an active enzyme in raw milk that makes the milk unhealthy for lactose intolerant individuals. I feel that if we were raised from a young age on raw milk and raw dairy poducts, we as a society would be much healthier. It is a shame that our farmer’s hands are tied in producing cheeses aged 60 days plus. Many fresh cow, sheep or goat milk cheeses could be made to rival European fresh varieties. This would also make it easier for the farmers to bring in cash faster as these cheeses are made fresher.
Q: What is your favorite entree on the menu and which California wine would you pair it with?
A: Our halibut would pair nicely with our Gamble Family Wines 08′ organic Sauvignon Blanc which we serve by the glass.
Napa Valley Grille
1100 Glendon Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024-3593