Hot House

Stay on Goose & Gander's outdoor patio for dinner

When Andy Florsheim took over St. Helena's Martini House and turned it into Goose & Gander, he kept its beloved bar intact and changed everything else.

The white-tablecloth dining room became dark and pubby. The Craftsman's original entrance was restored. And the outdoor terrace has become the garden you should be eating in this summer.

Sure, Scott Beattie's in the bar downstairs, but the waiters will ferry out his cocktails (a sharp, sugar-free Mojito, say, or a Mellivora Capensis with bourbon, spices, and coconut foam, both $11) to your tree-shaded table.

The snacks and small plates from chef Kelly McCown, once Martini House's chef de cuisine, are witty and intricate, not to mention some of the loveliest food we've eaten this season.

He stuffs jalapeƱo poppers ($7) with Cotija cheese blended with piquillo peppers, and perches scallops on fried green tomatoes and crisp pancetta coils ($15).

Though his ricotta gnocchi with cherry tomatoes and micro-basil ($18) is a fine summer main course, you could be just as content, on a hot July evening, with his salad of chanterelle mushrooms, green chickpeas and pea shoots, dressed with bacon vinaigrette and a quivering poached egg ($13).

You can head back inside next winter.

Goose & Gander, 1245 Spring St. (at Oak Ave.), St. Helena; 707-967-8779 or goosegander.com