A Miracle of Simple Preparations at Donato Enoteca
For a perfect slice of Italy, or rather a glass and a slice, head to Donato Enoteca in Redwood City. Even for restaurant-spoiled gourmands of San Francisco, this delightful and elegant place is definitely worth the trip.
Seasonal preparations here revolve around local produce with just a little help from some special imports from Italy. Executive Chef Donato Scotti, originally from northern Lombardia and with Italian culinary education and plenty of experience in the best California eateries, lets his ingredients shine. Claiming his cuisine to be “simple,” the chef creates inspired dishes bursting with color and flavor – little miracles on every plate.
On the day we revisited Italy with Donato, our dinner started with chilled prosecco, white and rose. Zucchini blossoms or Fiori di zucchini from the weekly prix-fixe menu came to the table stuffed with mild gorgonzola, ricotta, and mascarpone cheese, neatly breaded, and sprinkled with basil-infused olive oil.
Schiacciata con Porchetta pizza was baked with thinly rolled chewy dough and topped with delicate slices of Niman ranch pork belly, fresh watercress and Sicilian Fior di Sale that added a spark to every bite. Filetto Di Maiale Alle Verze of Misami pork tenderloin was cooked tender medium, wrapped in guanciale (pork cheek), and garnished with braised dark Tuscan cabbage, light Savoy cabbage, fingerling potatoes, and pickled onions.
Another prix-fixe star, Galetto e Porcini, was a spring chicken with peas and provolone stuffing. Golden-brown oven-roasted bird rested on a bed of simply sautéed porcinis coming from Mt. Shasta during its short mushroom season right after the snow melts, and they were chewy and slippery, and just beautiful. Donato’s exceptional wine collection, mostly of Italian boutique vintages, makes a statement on the menu as well as in the ambiance. In the Wine Cellar room and in the hallway leading to it, there are impressive displays of interesting wines in dark wood-shelved cases, and in the cozy bar area some regulars prefer to sip their Italian-themed cocktails lounging on a sofa or a love seat.
No Italian dinner experience would be complete without a glass of Vinsanto and a cup of espresso done the right way. Desserts are scrumptious here, and some good choices include a dark-chocolate mousse and a lemon panna cotta with blood orange sauce. Donato Enoteca is located at 1041 Middlefield Road, Redwood City, California. The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. For more information and reservations, call (650) 701-1000 or visit their website.