OMG! Last night my wife and I and another couple visited Donato Enoteca in downtown Redwood City for the first time (since the pre-opening party a couple of weeks ago). This was our first opportunity to really experience Donato's (owner and head chef) cuisine and Eric Lecours' (wine director) wine since Donato Scotti left La Strada 2 months ago, the leading Italian restaurant in Palo Alto, to launch Donato Enoteca.
I could write a review ten times longer. But alas, got things to do, places to go, people to see. So I will keep it *relatively* short. Neither myself nor our friend (a CEO and founder of a publicly traded company) are slouches when it comes to food and wine appreciation. From the moment we walked in, we were basked in warmth of the staff and the satisfying deliciousness of the every single item that was served to us - from the (free) pesto dip and bread to the fabulous (and incredibly reasonably priced) Nebbiolo d'Alba that complimented our courses to perfection. I should also mention that this large classy restaurant is so cleverly designed - with separate rooms that give you a feeling of coziness.
Eric expertly suggested a Franciacorta sparkling wine which was excellent by itself and a fabulous match to these savory food delights.
Pesto dip and bread were attention grabbers right away!
Then we had:
BRUSCHETTA DI CINGHIALE
Hand pulled braised wild boar, onion, Chianti vinegar on grilled ciabatta
CALAMARETTI E FAGIOLI
Fresh Monterey Bay calamari with “bianchi di Spagna” beans & mache lettuce
PROSCIUTTO E PINZIN
Traditional Emilia-Romagna dumplings with 18 month aged prosciutto
All spectacular. I couldn't decide whether I loved the calamari (it ain't no ordinary calamari!) or the braised wild boar better, while my friend's heart and stomach were won over by the prosciutto.
AGNOLOTTI DEL PLIN
Housemade small ravioli “del plin” of three meats; sausage, veal, tomato & onion sauce
This was delicious! Eric matched this and the below oxtail with a fabulous and extremely reasonably priced Nebbiolo d'Alba
BIGOLI E CODA
Braised Niman Ranch oxtail, Sangiovese, tomato, asparagus tips & “bigoli” pasta
This dish was gorgeous - meatier and less zingy than the ravioli, and yet still complemented perfectly by the ever-versatile Nebbiolo.
SPAGHETTI CON CIPOLLOTTI GAMBERONI
Spring onion, prawns, Trebbiano wine; roasted garlic “mollica”
My wife couldn't stop eating it (and she is usually not a big pasta person) - she divoured those prawns, heads and all! Once again Eric did a great job pairing this with an Arneis (which tasted of combination pineapple and sea - gorgeous!)
Tomato, basil, oregano & fresh mozzarella cheese -- this is Donato's trademark pizza - perfect crust, perfect balance of flavors - the Pizza alone is worth coming here.
Chocolate souffle with ice-cream - perfectly crumbly outside and gooey inside - that I consumed with the remains of the Nebbiolo (great match!)
House gelato - this sounds simple, but had incredible deep richness in all three flavors - pistachio/vanilla/chocolate, and a Batard-Montrachet-like creamy luscious mouthfeel.
All of the dishes were just the right amount - not too much, not too little. We left full, but not stuffed. I can easily and confidently say that Donato Enoteca is well on its way to becoming my favorite restaurant in the South Bay, sorry Manresa!