Cindy Pawlcyn has been a mainstay in Napa Valley for more than two decades, when she scored her first success with the still popular Mustards Grill. Her latest venture, Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen, is located in a charming house in St. Helena, CA. This quaint gem also has an adorable little courtyard for outdoor dining (which I’m sorry I didn’t snap a picture of for this post).
Backstreet Kitchen is just the antidote for too many fancy dinners in wine country. It’s a bit off the beaten bath, and not typically a place to see and be seen, though we did spot Kate Spade at the next table. And the menu screams casual, so you’ll find something to your liking whether you are craving a salad or a full meal. We ordered several small plates to start and passed them around the table–rabbit tostada, Vietnamese lettuce wraps, and quail salad. Dinner entrees ranged from mushroom tamales to tuna with soba noodles (the winner of the bunch). All the dishes were visually appealing and tasted just as good.
The Chinatown Duck Burger with house made mushroom ketchup is reputed to be incredible, but having made a stop earlier in the day at Gott’s Roadside Stand, a burger of any kind was not in the cards.
Pork chops, meatloaf, grilled cheese, pollo loco and fresh fish round out the creative menu.
This being wine country, Cindy’s Backstreet of course has a discerning wine list. Our very fine waiter steered us to a Charbono, a wine grown only in California. Its exclusivity tends to put it in a cult category of sorts, though without the hefty price tag.
This may not be the most sophisticated meal you have while in wine country, but don’t discount it. We all enjoyed our evening immensely and left feeling very relaxed and satisfied.