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    I was recently invited to a “media luncheon” at the new Napa River Grill in Westport Village. I was excited for two reasons. First, free lunch. I mean come on, who doesn’t want free lunch? Second, I’d never actually been to Westport Village and this was a good reason to check it out. I freely admit that I’m a neighborhood snob. I’m much more likely to go to restaurants in the Highlands, Crescent Hill, St. Matthews or downtown than I am to restaurants that are a little bit further out toward the suburbs. I could lie and say it’s because gas is too expensive to be driving all over but you’d see right through that and know that I just have a pro-“in the city” bias. So I haven’t been to Napa River Grill since it moved to Westport Village until the media luncheon.

    After lunch there color me impressed. I’m impressed overall with the look and feel of Westport Village but even more so, significantly more so, with Napa River Grill’s new location there. I must not be the only person who is impressed because it was packed for during the middle of the week. The vibe of the place is upscale but comfortable, not too fussy or frilly but if the weather cooperates at all you really want to be outside on the patio or at the outdoor bar. Somehow, someway they’ve made it possible to almost completely forget that you’re in the middle of an outdoor mall. The outdoor dining area is quaint, comfortable and where I hope to consume my upcoming birthday meal.

    Right the food. All this talk of malls and outdoor dining space has made me totally leave out any info on the actual food. Briefly, the food is outstanding. For lunch I nibbled on calamari and cornbread (separately of course though I’d be really curious to see a dish that combined both) and Napa River Grill’s famous ground to order rib eye cheeseburger.

    Though everything I tried was great I really wish I’d ordered the tomato soup with a puff pastry crown and the Caesar salad served in a Parmesan bowl. The presentation of these two dishes was so fantastic I kept watching my dining companions who ordered the dishes with great envy. I didn’t order dessert last week but you can bet I will be for my birthday dinner. I’m giddy over the notion that Napa River Grill serves a bread pudding that is free of both raisins and nuts! Praise be the dessert gods for a bread pudding unsullied by nuts or raisins.

    I’ll let you know how great it is.

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