Taste The Best of China, No Passport Required
Happy Hour: Wednesday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. Explore their extensive Baijiu spirits cocktail menu and regional selection of teas, perfect to enjoy with their Dim Sum sampler.
Named after two powerhouse women, this upscale Chinese restaurant in downtown Napa first draws inspiration from Empress Wu Zetian. As the sole female monarch in China’s 3,000-year-old history, the Tang Dynasty leader was known for her patronage of the arts along with a keen intelligence, strength, and charisma. The second inspiration is Empress M proprietor Margaret Wong: a self-determined visionary, entrepreneur, philanthropist and now-restauranter who built her empire from the ground up, despite childhood hardships in native Hong Kong to become a global business leader and mentor to females across the world. Affectionately called “Empress” amongst her colleagues, the success of Empress M’s innovative menu and storytelling through its décor reinforces her virtues of quality, hard work, and perseverance. The parallel stories of both women are interpreted throughout the eight-room interior and exterior dining spaces using original wall art, Chinese artifacts, and gracious service to showcase China’s eight greatest regional culinary traditions. The menu includes traditional Dim Sum, meat, and seafood-based dishes but easily can accommodate vegetarians and is vegan-friendly too. Their spacious full bar includes all the traditional cocktails and local brews along with one of the largest selections of Baijiu (sorghum-based spirit) on the West Coast. It’s also your new NFL hangout to catch all the games and weekend sports on the largest screen in Napa while enjoying a special fall sports menu.
Each Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m, Executive Chef Peter Huang and his expert culinary team create a stunningly elaborate eight-course tasting menu meant to excite all the senses. In Chinese culture, “8” is the luckiest number and it will be your good fortune indeed to experience each one of these carefully selected courses. Based on the seasonal availability of ingredients, their chefs use only the highest quality produce, meat, and seafood sourced from local purveyors throughout Napa Valley and the Bay Area. Each bite is infused with true Chinese flavors using imported and housemade Chinese sauces, condiments, and of course, authentic Chinese cooking techniques. A preview of this delicious Fall Chef’s Menu* includes a Wood Ear Cucumber Salad and a Crab Meat Winter Melon Soup, followed by a selection of Dim Sum–even the dumpling dough is handmade from scratch in-house giving each little “purse” the silkiest and most delicate texture that simply melts in your mouth. For the main courses, Grilled Seabass with pickled vegetable, a medley of seasonal vegetables, along with Sautéed Duck Breast with black sticky rice. The final courses include Chef’s Special Cold Noodles and Green Tea
Mochi and Sesame Ball to finish.
Make the meal even tastier by adding on a wine pairing. Four wines (single pours of each) are selected to complement the entire menu with each wine seamlessly flowing from one dish to another. Limited seating. Call in advance for reservations. $88 per guest, minimum 2 guests. Wine pairing of four pours to complement the entire meal is an additional $40 per guest. *subject to change.
Spend your Sunday afternoon at a traditional tea ceremony held at the Empress M. Select and purchase your tea set from the restaurant then enjoy a lesson in serving and drinking tea as your host guides you through each step of this ancient ritual. Learn the proper water temperature for brewing, purpose of cup rinsing, how to make your tea selection, pouring etiquette, and more. Your host will also offer a suggested list of Dim Sum and other specialties to order and enjoy during the ceremony which will complement their range of Chinese teas. More details and reservations at (707) 205-5829.
Leashed pets are welcome on the outdoor patio which hosts a Street Food Night each Friday and Saturday from 6 to 11 p.m. Dim Sum, meat and vegetable skewers, and other Chinese street foods are served along to the beat of live music from 9 to 11 p.m.