Over Labor Day, I went with my father, step-mom, and sweetie to Napa Valley. Decadent meals aplenty ensured. The first night dinner (Ains wasn’t with us yet) we went to Bottega. Dad and Kathy had found this restaurant on their last trip to Napa and wanted to return.
Chef Michael Chiarello runs this place which is in a brick building in downtown Yountville. It’s one of those places that has a brick oven, or at least enough fireplaces that the whole building and even the pathway to it smells smoky and inviting.
My dad made our starter decisions and we had:
Burrata Caprese creamy whipped mozzarella burrata, golden bear ranch heirloom tomatoes, toasted bruschetta, basil oil & balsamic caviar
First, might I just say how relieved and happy I am that heirloom tomato season finally arrived? I mean, even in California where we usually have a nice long season, it’s been pitiful in tomato land since last October. Until now.
The tomatoes were perfection. The burrata was a perfect mix of creamy and milky, and the little “caviar balls” of balsamic added little bursts of goodness.
We also had a special that featured Swordfish:
For my main, I had pondered a whole fish but then my dad decided that’s what he was getting. And he had ordered a really delicious bottle of red wine, so I looked for something that might be complemented by it and ended up with:
If it mostly looks just like pasta with red sauce, that’s because that’s what it was. Again a relief to be enjoying actually ripe and quality tomatoes. The one part that made it stand out a bit more was the crispy basil. Not sure how they got it crispy but it won me over.
Side note, the wine – a Zinfandel from the Chiarello Family Vineyard which doesn’t distribute its wines anywhere other than their restaurants was excellent.
Dad, indeed had the whole fish: Wood-Oven Roasted Whole Fish with Meyer lemon, coal cooked fennel puree, fresh fennel dressing and roasted sunchokes
I couldn’t capture it very well but the slight lemon-tinge meeting the fennel situation definitely was a success.
I’m not gonna lie. It was awesome. I contemplated some move in which I traded meals with Kathy.
Sad to say, it did not live up to the bleeding chocolate wish. As dad told our server, “this was good but the one at Roy’s bleeeeds chocolate.”
All in all, an excellent meal to start of our Napa weekend.