Bottega boasts Yountville's largest dining room, which is beautifully conceived with its restored brick, high ceilings, and larger than life brass chandeliers. In addition to the two main dining rooms, there is huge bar, and even bigger enclosed and heated porch (with its own fireplace).
Our service was flawless. The wine director was fantastic, allowing us to taste three of the Chiarello family wines, available in individual two-glass carafes. The Chiarello wines were excellent, priced the same at the table as they are retail at the chef's store, Napa Style, next door. The Petit Syrah had the robustness and fruit-forward flavor that the area is known for; I enjoyed the wine so much, that I went back the next day to to purchase a bottle ($52).
Presentation on all the food was top-notch. It was the coming together of the ingredients in the overall flavor and taste of most dishes that somehow missed the mark.
|Bottega: Burrata with roasted mushrooms, butternut squash, and caviar|
|Bottega: Artichoke two ways: with bitter greens and shave Parmesan|
|Bottega: House-made egg pappardelle veal, pork & porcini mushroom Bolognese, rosemary, parmigiano|
|Bottega: Housemade pasta, rabbit ragu, and mascarpone cheese (I think...)|
For me though, the highlight of the evening turned out to be not the food, but a one-on-one with the chef. And I freely admit I probably was not the most articulate--bordering on gushing--when B and I got to meet Michael Chiarello, and discuss his wines, the food, and his former Food Network show. Michael clearly thrives off the energy of this venture. He was so gracious with table after table of diners, including the throngs of cougars that troll the dining room and gawk at this "cutie patootie" (their words, not mine). And according to our waiter, the presence of Michael at his restaurant is par for the course -- certainly a nice treat for diners and fans like us of the (original, not the current) Food Network.
|Cheese: Meeting Michael Chiarello|