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Author Archives: Lauren Barbaro

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Cali Vibes & Exceptional Wines Expanding to a Second Location

After opening our doors less than two years ago, we are proud to announce our expansion with the first franchised NAPA Kitchen and Wine location, set to open Q4 of 2024.

The first NAPA Kitchen and Wine franchise will be located in Ellis Preserve, Pennsylvania with 7,500 square feet, a 100-seat patio, and an 80-seat private dining room. This second and franchised location will continue to deliver West Coast-inspired, high-quality, chef-driven cuisine, alongside wines from around the world in a laid-back environment.

NAPA Kitchen and Wine started as a passion project a few years ago and to be expanding to two new locations speaks volumes to the hard work and care delivered by our team every single day. More than our team, it’s our returning guests and the support of the community in Richmond who have allowed us to grow so quickly.

CEO & Founder, Dennis Barbaro

Since opening in early 2022, NAPA Kitchen and Wine has quickly become one of the top destinations in Virginia for an expansive selection of wines from Napa Valley and beyond, resulting in the prestigious recognition of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. In addition to an extraordinary selection of wines in a relaxed environment, NAPA Kitchen and Wine has earned top marks for a remarkable seasonality-driven menu of California-inspired cuisine including fresh seafood, premier steaks, fresh produce, hand-rolled sushi, and more. Guests also enjoy a self-serve wine station, a wine-tasting bar and lounge, a self-serve bourbon station, the area’s only Sunday Jazz Brunch, personalized wine tastings, monthly wine pairing dinners, and a fun, interactive wine academy offering informative monthly sessions covering a gambit of wine-related topics, themes, and regions.

Categories Chef's Blog

Sushi & Wine: A Perfect Pairing

Without a doubt, sushi has captured the hearts and palates of people worldwide and our guests at NAPA Kitchen and Wine are no exception. While sushi is traditionally enjoyed with green tea, there are two other beverages that we know to elevate the sushi experience to new heights: wine and sake.

Our culinary director, Tyler Barbaro, describes some of the special techniques that are used to create fresh, handmade sushi, along with his suggested pairings including offerings that you can find on our menu any night of the week!

The first step in preparing incredible sushi is the rice. We select a special short-grain rice that is rinsed, steamed, then gently tossed with a special, seasoned rice wine vinegar. This is what gives our sushi rice a unique flavor and a sticky consistency.

The most important ingredient is the fish. We only use sushi grades of the highest quality. We source our fish from a specialty supplier to ensure the absolute best quality. The seafood must be chilled to exacting temperatures so it is firm and easiest to cut. We cut our seafood into 1/4″ to 2″ thick long batons so it fits perfectly in each roll.

We cut our toppings such as carrot, avocado, and cucumber to nearly the same length as our fish, only slightly thinner, especially when placing them inside a roll. Toppings for the outside of the roll, such as avocado or salmon, will always be cut into thin rectangular pieces which can be strategically draped on top of the roll.

If you enjoy sushi, you know just how important nori is to most rolls. Nori, otherwise known as dried seaweed, is a necessary ingredient in making sushi, with the exception of nigiri and sashimi. When creating a sushi roll, we use nori as the base to place our rice, on one side, while the ingredients are placed on the other side.

Finally, there are many different sauces that we use in our sushi and everyone has at least one favorite. We use traditional soy sauce, sweet soy sauce, acevichado (a Peruvian-style aioli), eel sauce, and spicy aioli, all of which have been specially selected by our team.

Now onto my favorite part, pairing our sushi with a fantastic wine or our traditional sake!

Our Buddha and Paradise rolls are lighter fare but contain bold, rich ingredients that present a slight sweetness when enjoyed. I would pair these rolls with either an unoaked Chardonnay, one of our sparkling wines, or Sho Chiku Bai Mio Sparkling sake.

Our Sensei roll is a favorite, producing a hint of heat balanced by the cream cheese. I highly recommend pairing this roll with our Anna Cordorniu Brut Rosé or Mizubasho Ginjo sake.

The Cobra roll is very unique between the meatiness of the crab, the contrasting sweet characteristics, and the spicy sauces. You can easily pair this roll with a semi-dry white or rosé wine or Mizubasho Ginjo sake. Our Terra D’oro Chenin Blanc Viognier would pair nicely with this roll as well.

These next two are our most complex in terms of ingredients and flavor profiles, and arguably two of our most popular rolls. Each with contrasting sauces, meaty seafood, and a fried component, our Fire and Miyagi rolls tend to pair best with a light-bodied red such as our Elk Cove Pinot Noir. Hakutsuru Saruyi Junmai Nigori is also a great choice for a sake option.

So, the next time you crave fresh, hand-rolled sushi for dinner, consider taking Tyler’s advice! Elevate your experience by choosing the perfect bottle of wine or sake to pair with your sushi from NAPA Kitchen and Wine. Cheers to the perfect union of sushi, sake, and wine!

Categories Media

Excellence Uncorked – NAPA Kitchen & Wine Receives Wine Spectator Award of Excellence

We are proud to announce that we have been awarded the prestigious Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for Restaurants 2023. We are the only restaurant in Midlothian, and the only restaurant South of the River in the greater Richmond, Virginia region to receive this esteemed recognition.

Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine and began its award program to recognize the world’s best wine lists and restaurants back in 1981. The Award of Excellence recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. With this award, we are internationally recognized as a top destination for wine lovers thanks to our diverse wine list of over 90 selections and an approachable range of price points.

“To have earned this award from Wine Spectator is absolute confirmation of all of the hard work that has been put into making NAPA Kitchen and Wine a truly one-of-a-kind restaurant,” said CEO and Founder, Dennis Barbaro. “I could not be prouder of the entire team behind the NAPA concept. Thank you to them and all our returning guests who have made this award possible!”

Categories Media

Cheers to One Year in Richmond

We are proud to announce the celebration of the one-year anniversary of our opening in Westchester Commons in Midlothian, VA. NAPA Kitchen and Wine is a unique restaurant concept inspired by the vineyards and vibes of Napa Valley, California.

Since opening in early 2022, we have delivered a seasonal menu of Cali-inspired cuisine including fresh seafood, hand-cut steaks, farm-fresh produce, hand-rolled sushi, a wide selection of wines by the glass and bottle, as well as a self-serve wine station, a wine-tasting bar, personalized wine tastings, wine pairing dinners, and wine education classes, featuring wines from around the world.

We also host the area’s only Sunday Jazz Brunch and Richmond’s only self-serve bourbon experience all in a relaxed atmosphere.

“This past year has exceeded all of our expectations from overall sales to the simple way that the community has embraced our one-of-a-kind restaurant,” said CEO and Founder, Dennis Barbaro. “We want to thank all of our wonderful guests who have supported us through an exciting first year. Cheers from all of us here at NAPA Kitchen and Wine!”

NAPA Kitchen and Wine was conceived by local restauranteur Dennis Barbaro, delivering an elevated selection of West Coast food and wine in a laid-back environment inspired by the vineyards of Napa Valley, California. Our successful launch and embrace by the Richmond community have added to DJB Hospitality’s inclusion on the prestigious Inc. 5000 list four years in a row as one of America’s fastest-growing privately held companies.

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