It turned out that Elements is a great place to dine on well executed small plates at a reasonable price. They also have several entrees (which we didn't try on this visit), almost two dozen cheeses (with accompaniments ranging from pickled figs to honey combs to marcona almonds) and an extensive wine list (as you'd expect from a restaurant that also calls itself an enoteca).
Not only are they environmentally responsible, they also responsible to their people. All employees are provided with health insurance (which is very rare for a small restaurant) and they do their best to purchase through local purveyors and donate back into Napa's non-profit organizations.
But, that's all icing on the cake. First and foremost how was the food? Here's what we had.
Oxtail terrine with a salad of summer roots $8
The chilled terrine had the strong beefy flavor you look for when eating anything made of oxtail.}?>
Hamachi tartare, Asian pear and a radish salad $9
The flavors and textures were excellent in this plate. The fish was firm and savory and paired perfectly with the sweet, crisp cubed pear pieces.
Dungeness crab, avocado and citrus $11
This was my favorite dish and I highly recommend ordering it. The crab tasted fresh - mild and sweet - and went perfectly with the rich, creamy avocado that was served on top.
Cured meats and salumis, cold pressed grape seed oil $9
We got a mix of spec, salami, and a couple of other cured meats.
Monterey calamari, Spanish chorizo broth, oregano $9
This slightly spicy dish isn't your normal restaurant preparation of calamari. The calamari was perfectly cooked and paired with little chorizo bits the flavor was great. This was Tina's favorite dish.
Broccoli Rabe sautéed with anchovy and toasted garlic $5.50
We ordered this side because we long broccoli rabe. This preparation was not a disappointment, but I do recommend making sure you get a little of the anchovy to get just enough briny goodness with the broccoli rabe.
Peach tart tatin $6
We ordered two desserts. This one was made with a poached peach set on a disc of puff pastry. A dollop of vanilla yogurt sorbet was set on top of the warm peach. The flavors were very good, but we weren't sure about the microgreens served with the dessert.
Ruby red grapefruit $6
I ordered this dessert because our waitress (who was on her first week at the restaurant) hadn't seen it served before. Slices of grapefruit wedges (which were not ruby red...) were served with a prosecco saybayon[sic] gratinee (looked like some light blowtorching). I like grapefruit, so I didn't have a problem with the dessert, but the sabayon sauce was a little weird. I tasted it on it's own and it was slightly sweet with an odd flavor that I couldn't quite place. Later, after trying the peach dessert, I tasted the sabayon again and it tasted really odd - like it was heavily fermented or something. I don't recommend this dessert.
I would recommend that if you find yourself in the Napa Valley region of California you definitely give Elements a try.
Elements Restaurant and Enoteca
1400 Second Street
Napa, CA 94559
Walk-in: worked for us (might be harder as the restaurant becomes more popular)
I like the looks of that radish salad, and the cured meats.