Last week we (finally) made our way to Chef Michael Chiarello’s newest restaurant, Bottega, in Yountville to actually grab a bite to eat. We went for a late lunch, which enabled us to get a good overall sense for the look-and-feel of the restaurant, and we weren’t disappointed.
After waiting for about 10-15 minutes for a table to open up, we were seated in an optimal corner that offered great views of the kitchen, the busy bar and the outdoor seating area. Our server was right on top of things, greeted us, took our drink order (a quartino of 2007 Layer Cake Cabernet Sauvignon and a quartino of Poggi Nero) and was on his way. The dining room was quite busy, particularly given that it was near 2pm on a mid-week afternoon, and it was nice to see several familiar faces happily enjoying themselves.
After perusing the menu for a few minutes we decided to dine ‘family-style’, despite the fact there were only two of us, in hopes of allowing ourselves to sample a wider portion of the menu.
Our “Antipasti” course consisted of the wood grilled octopus and the very fun ‘green eggs and ham’, which as Chiarello told us following our meal has some “whimsy and story to it and flavor to remember…something to tell somebody about tomorrow”. The dish is essentially a peeled soft-boiled egg rolled in bread crumb gremolata and deep fried. It comes (see the photo below), sitting atop a bed of asparagus and was simultaneously absolutely delicious and pocketbook friendly at $14. So there, we’ve told you about it.
Our “Secondi” (aka main course) consisted of the skirt steak with parsnip fries ($19) and the halibut ($25), which comes wrapped in parchment paper (see photos below) after being baked with olive tapenade, tomatoes and capers. The fish was perfectly cooked, flaky, tender and super flavorful and was served with house-cured olives.
While we opted to forgo dessert this time around, we did hear about a couple absolutely amazing desserts that Chiarello is working on (stay tuned for our video interview with him for more details) that will surely be a big hit with diners this summer.
Based on our experience, both in terms of service and in terms of the fun, engaging and taste-bud pleasing menu, we’ll definitely be back and can readily recommend Bottega to anyone visiting the Napa Valley. Below are a few photos that should give you a sense for what Bottega is all about.
Click on any image to see the full-size version, or click “View with PicLens” to watch a slide show with captions.