Bottega (Yountville, CA)
6525 Washington St
Yountville, CA 94599
Dining date: 7/3/16
I’ve been to Michael Chiarello’s Bottega once when it first opened, way back in 2009. I enjoyed the lunch there and always thought to come back. I didn’t think it would take me 7 years to do so (so many options, limited time!), but this time I stopped in for dinner.
The restaurant was packed on this Independence Day weekend. We lucked out and managed a corner booth in the patio which turned out to be an an ideal setting on a warm summer evening.
Calamari Fritti Monterey calamari crisped with Arborio rice flour and aioli nero
Crispy rice floured pieces of calamari were crunchy and tender. The simple dish was made a little more interesting by the squid ink aioli. I think grilled lemon is so much better than fresh raw lemon for juicing on something like this.
“Polenta Under Glass” Caramelized wild mushrooms with balsamic game sauce and parmigiano frico
A signature dish here, the polenta was rich with savory depth from the hen sauce. Mushrooms added an earthy dimension.
Tagliarini Bolognese Veal, pork, and Porcini mushroom sugo with rosemary and Parmigiano Reggiano
The tagliarini was pretty delicious, its chewy strands of pasta bathed in a hearty ragu. The ragu was both meaty and anise-scented from the fennel.
Carre’ d’Agnello Fennel spiced rack of lamb, creamy ancient grain polenta, fresh and roasted cherry vinaigrette, lamb jus
The lamb main course featured two double-cut chops cooked just right. The chops were both juicy and flavorful, while the polenta sopped up the residual lamb jus. Some lightly-dressed greens provided just the right amount of freshness to complement the richness of the lamb and polenta.
Conserve di Anatra Confit of half Sonoma duck, sautéed wild pea greens, grilled strawberry-rhubarb mostarda, duck jus
This duck main course was impressively presented – an entire half of a duck cooked confit. The leg portion was very good with the crispy skin, but the breast was a complete failure. Stringy and mealy, it’s no wonder I almost never see confit duck breast on menus.
Bottega had some ups and downs, but overall wasn’t quite as good as I remembered. The pasta and lamb were highlights, but the duck breast was really hard to swallow. I’m not sure if I’ll return with so many other great options in the Valley.