If you stepped into Donato Enoteca in Redwood City on opening night, you might have thought you were in Italy. It seemed just about every Italian in the Bay Area was there. Not only that, as a guest of honor, in attendance was the chef's mother, who flew in from Italy on a whim.
The space feels a bit like three or four restaurants in one. In the front is a casual and inviting space facing the open kitchen.
The middle section is across from the bar and is a bit more chic. After all, "enoteca" means wine bar.
At the far end is the most formal Wine Cellar dining room.
All along the outside of the restaurant is outdoor seating.
Chef Donato Scotti, a native of Bergamo, Italy, envisioned Donato Enoteca, after years working at well-known Italian restaurants in Italy and the US. His food is the sort to make any Italian happy, there was plenty of stuffed pasta, risotto and pizza to go with endless glasses of Prosecco. While not specializing in a particular region, I suspect the food will often reflect the cuisine of Lombardy.
Some of the tastiest dishes of the night were creamy risotto and braised wild boar served on crostini.
Clearly the chef has skills beyond cooking just the dishes of his own home turf, in particular, the seafood dishes including some grilled shrimp and calamari were succulent and delectable.
That said, the dish I will be most eager to try when I return will be the Costoletta alla Milanese, a thin, crisp breaded veal cutlet that is a speciality of the region and a favorite dish of mine. The Bay Area can always use another great Italian restaurant and if opening night was any indication, Donato Enoteca is well on it's way.
Here is the recipe for one of Donato Enoteca's signature dishes:
Insalata Biete e Fave
Chioggia and Golden beets 2 each medium sized
6oz fresh peeled & poached fava beans
1.5 oz wild organic arugula
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 stem rosemary
2 glasses dry white wine (Pinot Grigio preferred)
1 Tablespoon Chianti vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
1 ounce Pecorino fresco or goat cheese
1 clove garlic
Salt & pepper
Place the beets in a high-edged baking pan. Pour the dry white wine over the beets and add the smashed garlic clove, chopped rosemary and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum and bake 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
Remove aluminum and finish baking until done (poke with toothpick, should come out dry and easy). Set to cool until warm approximately 30 minutes.
Once cooled, gently peel skin from beets and cut beets into segments. Set aside.
Prepare vinaigrette dressing by whisking 1 tablespoon Chianti Vinegar with a sprinkle of salt then 3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Toss segmented beets and fava beans with dressing after gently place on bed of arugula topping with a choice of cheese. Lightly drizzle with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and ground pepper.