Auro Debuts at Four Seasons Resort Napa ValleyNov 16, 2022 07:02PM ● By Fran Miller
By FRAN ENDICOTT MILLER
Calistoga offers many reasons to schedule a visit to the quaint, northern-most Napa Valley town. Mud baths, resorts both diminutive and grand, recreational activities, and of course wine top most visitors’ lists. And with the opening of Auro at Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley, fine cuisine now provides added destination inspiration for both locals and tourists.
Auro showcases a seasonally inspired, rotating five-course tasting menu set against views of sprawling Calistoga vineyards and the Palisades Mountains. The setting is spectacular, and so is the cuisine. A weekly-changing menu begins with a series of amuse-bouches, followed by house-made milk bread and two butters. Fourteen-day dry-aged meats and fish are central to the menu with highlights including dry-aged Shima Aji, a delicate fish paired with harvest apple, cilantro, and emerald crystal lettuce; and California White Duck complete with Medjool dates, pearl salsify, and Sonoma baby beets. Other standouts include butter poached Norwegian crab served with pearl onions, Nantes carrots and rose finn potato, finished with a sauce Semillon, and Kagoshima A5 Wagyu with walnut purée, creamed kale, garlic confit and black trumpet mushrooms. Desserts include a house-made gianduja hazelnut chocolate tart and varied mignardises.
All of this deliciousness is overseen by Mexico-born, and Los Angeles and Napa-raised executive chef Rogelio Garcia, who rose through the ranks in some of wine country’s most respected restaurants before setting forth to San Francisco where he spent the last seven years perfecting his craft at notable restaurants such as Traci des Jardins’ The Commissary, followed by Michelin-starred Spruce and Luce. Additionally, Garcia is an alumnus of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 15 and author of an upcoming cookbook, Convivir: Modern Mexican Cooking in California’s Wine Country. His Auro inspiration is drawn from past experience and from his time-honored relationships with farmers, foragers, and fishermen. Notable purveyors include Elysian Fields Lamb, Ōra King Salmon and Wolfe Ranch Quail and produce sourced from a dedicated culinary garden at neighboring Triple S Ranch.
“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to return to Napa—where my culinary journey began—and to create a distinctive dining concept from the ground up that pays homage to outstanding producers from California and beyond,” said Garcia. “This feels like the warmest homecoming. My Auro menu is a tribute to my evolution as a chef, and an opportunity to honor the exceptional ingredients of this region and the labor that brought them to us.”
Garcia’s menu items are beautifully complimented by wine pairings curated by sommelier Derek Stevenson. Notable selections include Radio-Coteau La Neblina 2020 Pinot Noir, a Sonoma Coast terroir-driven wine with notes of cranberry, bing cherry, tobacco and roasted baking spices to pair with the duck and Merryvale Vineyards Silhouette 2020 Chardonnay, a Napa white with a nod to the old-world winemaking techniques of Burgundy to accompany the crab.
Designed by award-winning hospitality design firm EDG, Auro draws on the organic palette of the surrounding landscape and the bucolic grounds of its Four Seasons home. The dining room is composed in dark woods, soil-inspired hues, and muted tones. Open and airy, the space features floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, opening up to an outdoor terrace and sweeping vineyard views, the organic vines of which belong to the resort’s on-site winery Elusa where winemakers Thomas Rivers Brown and Jonathan Walden craft elegant and luscious varietals.
Auro also overlooks the resort’s two swimming pools, and the surrounding Hirsch Bedner Associates-designed rooms and sumptuous suites. Those on the first level boast a wine cellar-like vibe of dark, sultry tones and low illumination, with gleaming white large bathrooms featuring soaking tubs. Upper-level rooms are the reverse – bright white design with black-tiled bathrooms. All rooms feature fireplaces, private, furnished terraces, fully stocked mini-bars, and the heavenly Four Seasons bed – the most ideal of ‘next stops’ after a multi-course Auro meal.
Auro is currently open for dinner Thursday through Saturday nights.
Photos courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Napa Valley