Forks and Corks: Napa Noodles

Today, we’re headed to Napa Noodles. It’s located on First Street, in the heart of downtown Napa. Just think of the noodle house as fast casual from across the Pacific Rim.

Napa Noodles is open and airy. There’s bar with a mural depicting the Pacific Rim splashed above. On the other side of the bar, there are light green parlor chairs with white table tops and three whimsical paintings of the owner’s kids and grandson Gunner.

The noodle house is Rick Zaslove’s most recent creation. He’s not your average restauranteur. He works in the lumber industry. In fact, he’s the president of Golden State Lumber.

The crazy thing is he gets his ideas while he’s on the road.

Zaslove discovered a noodle house in Savannah, Georgia, and decided to bring the fast-casual cuisine to Napa.  “I like more meat,” Rick says as he excitedly talks about this little noodle house. It had culinary treats from all over the Pacific Rim. Not only meat and noodles, but rice and vegies, as well as homemade pickled vegetables.

For Zaslove, it’s about providing good food for people. He says, “We’re a consumer driven restaurant. We’re not restauranteurs. I’ve been in the lumber industry 46 years, and I like eating out lots of places. I always actually look at a restaurant and critique it if you will…enjoy the wonderful things they have…and I used to say I’d take all of my favorite dishes and put them in one restaurant.”

Zaslove is beyond that already, as Napa Noodles is his third restaurant.

Although Napa is a tourist town located in the heart of Wine Country, Zaslove’s focus is on the locals, “From the day we opened this pace, we’ve focused on the locals.” Zaslove adds, “The tourists are welcome as long as they’re nice, but we’re a local establishment.”

Zaslove asked Adam Ressler, who was the master of the cooked menu at Eikos to run the kitchen at Napa Noodles.  The Bay Area native who’s in his early 30s, learned how to create Japanese cuisine when he was working at a high-end dining establishment in Las Vegas. “They taught me. Simplicity and deliciousness,” Ressler declared. And he’s never looked back. Ressler loves putting a modern twist on traditional dishes. In particular, “giving you what you think you want but flipping it on its head. More to come,” Ressler teased.

Ressler’s specialty is Duck Duck Soup. It’s a Japanese curry with coco powder, cinnamon. It’s his “wow” dish.

Ressler sources local ingredients so if you stop by the noodle house in the summer and then come back again in the winter, the menu will be slightly different. The Yaki Soba will still be Yaki Soba but there will be seasonal twists. Each day, Ressler has several slow-cooked broths on the stove to work with. 

C’mon down to Napa Noodles. Where the locals gather and enjoy noodle dishes from the Pacific Rim.

Stop by Napa Noodles for up to the minute info, food.

Forks and Corks is a production of Napa Valley Life Magazine.