At Napa Valley’s Restaurant at Meadowood, chef Christopher Kostow rose to fame with a brilliant modern California menu that starts at $275 a person, before wine pairings. Guests who snag a place at the four-seat chef’s table have an even more outrageous experience, for which they pay $500 each. Think of the tiniest pea plants—roots, pea, and sprout—in a crepe made from more tiny peas, with puffy green kale chips served on the open pages of a cookbook annotated with notes about when and where the kale was picked.
Kostow’s newest project, the Charter Oak, is not an extension of his Meadowood ethos. He won’t be experimenting with ever-more-expensive, avant garde tasting menus. His one-word mission statement here is “simplicity”—at least as a three-star Michelin chef would define it.