March 24, 2009

Bottega - Great Value and Easy Entertainment watching Michael Chiarello in the Kitchen

We decided to check out Michael Chiarello's new restaurant Bottega (located in Yountville, where the French Laundry is located). The dinner was fantastic: great, comforting, homemade Italian food with a very affordable wine selection. We love wine lists that include large selections of quartinos and reasonably-priced bottles so that we can try different types of wines. Bottega is a great place to go for a great dinner out.
Four house cured salumi: Dolci, Fuet, Bresaolo, Catalan with pickled vegetables. ($14)

Wood Grilled Octopus: with olive oil braised potatoes, pickled red onion, and salsa verde. ($10)

Garganelli with Balsamic Rabbit Sugo and wild mushrooms. ($19)

Ricotta Gnocchi, salsa di pomodoro della Nonna, pecorino ($15): This is the BEST Gnocchi we have ever eaten. They were very light and fluffy. It was the perfect pasta because it let us have enough room for the next entree!

Wood-grilled Quail, honey-balsamic marinade, sauteed vineyard greens, pomegranate mostarda, roasted heirloom apples. ($26) The quail was perfectly cooked; however, we felt that the honey and apples were too sweet and too much for the dish.
Goats Milk Braised Lamb Osso Bucco with Garlic, fennel, sweet onions, and carrot caponata ($26). We think it could have braised for a little longer but was still very tender and the flavors melted together.

Truffle-parmiggiano fries: tasty side dish ($8)

Chef Michael Chiarello in the kitchen.

One of the best parts about dining at Bottega is the wine program (the wine markups are quite low compared to most restaurants we have ever been to before). After our complimentary Prosecco, we sampled three generous quartinos: the 2005 Steltzner Sangiovese ($18, Stag's Leap, Napa); the 2006 Chiarello Family Zinfandel ($18, Giana, Napa); and the 2006 Chiarello Family Cabernet Sauvignon ($20, Bambino, Napa). Our favorite was the Giana Zinfandel, which opened up nicely throughout the dinner and had the Cali-zin spice and fruit. The Cabernet was true 'Napa-style' with ripe fruit while the Steltzner Sangiovese was a little 'hot' for our liking.

Warm Chocolate-Almond Molten Cake with hazelnut crème Anglaise. ($9) This was a warm, delicious dessert that would satify any chocolate craving. It was a perfect way to end the meal.

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