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Anyone been to the new Bottega Ristorante in Yountville?

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Hey Chowhounds. We're Yountville weekenders and we're looking for feedback on Michael Chiarello's new Bottega Ristorante which had a soft opening in Yountville this weekend. While I'm psyched to have something besides French in town, I'm a little suspect on how good it will be (don't love his new Napa Style store in town). I did see a couple reviews on Yelp, but they were so glowing for an opening weekend when there are usually at least a few bumps I felt like they were plants rather than authentic reviews.

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  1. Hi
    I at at Bottega on Sunday night. Irealize that it was the third night Bottega had been open - so they are still working out the kinks.

    The food was wonderful - the service was less than desireable!! We wanted a nice leisurely meal - which lasted 3 and half hours - mostly waiting... Throuhout the evening we ordered 4 bottles of wine - it took 25 minutes each time for the wine to be delivered to the table. For the price (which is not cheap!) and with Michael Chiarello' s name and reputation - I expected exception service. Our wait staff new the menu wine list well - but had no idea how to wait on a table!!

    The food was wonderful - the service was less than desireable!! We wanted a nice leisurely meal - which lasted 3 and half hours - mostly waiting... Throuhout the evening we ordered 4 bottles of wine - it took 25 minutes each time for the wine to be delivered to the table. For the price (which is not cheap!) and with Michael Chiarello' s name and reputation - I expected exception service. Our wait staff new the menu wine list well - but had no idea how to wait on a table!!

    4 Replies
    1. re: culinarygirl

      Thanks Culinary Girl. We're trying it on the 30th so hopefully they'll have some of the service kinks worked out by then. Glad to hear the food was good at least. Maybe we'll order two bottles of wine at a time so we can have a spare in case they're slow.

      1. re: culinarygirl

        Can you tell us more about the food? What did you order?

        1. re: culinarygirl

          Thanks for the reviews, all. I just booked Bottega for our Napa trip in February and want to make each one of our nights there count. We'll see how the reviews progress as the month goes on.

          Does anyone have a link to a menu? I'm vegetarian and need to know if there are enough options for moi.

          1. re: lilfoodie

            Lilfoodie - have you booked Ubuntu? Haven't been yet, but heard great things. They call themselves a "vegetable" restaurant not vegetarian as they don't serve tofu, etc. but are strictly veg.

        2. It was just ok for me. Not great. I was really disappointed.

          1. Six of us had dinner there last night and it was not a very successful evening. For one, they apparently lost our reservation although they did manage to find us a terrific table. The room itself is wonderful - roomy, comfortable, with a noise level that allowed for conversation without getting laryngitis. Several of us started with a roasted octopus appetizer. Four were ordered but unfortunately only three made it to the table. The fourth arrived with apologies five minutes later. The octopus itself was quite tender and delicious although I would have preferred a bit more char to bring out the sweetness of the flesh. Served atop a bed of cool to cold potatoes it made for an unhappy contrast in temperature . On to the next course. We all ordered pastas. They arrived in little dishes better suited to a bowl of cornflakes. Not only was the presentation unappetizing, but the pasta with cherrystone clams and Calabrese sausage had ample nuggets of the latter but nary a mollusk in sight. I called over the maitre d' and asked him where the clams were (feeling a bit like I was reliving a Seinfeld episode). "They're in there," he replied. "In where?" I asked. "In the sauce." Nevertheless, he offered to bring additional sauce to the table. That too seemed distinctly lacking in clam flavor. All this was done with great politeness by the way, with no attitude or annoyance on the part of the staff . Interestingly, when I asked him why he was doing the dish such a disservice by presenting it in a little bowl he told me that was the intention. They actually want to discourage diners from ordering pasta as their main course. I told him that the appetizer was $13 and the pasta was $14 and $27 for dinner on a Monday night (not counting dessert and corkage) was more than enough for a local such as myself. The olive oil cake for dessert was not to my taste, but that's a personal matter. Service was reasonable with several lapses including an overeager server who snatched my wineglass away before I had a chance to finish what was left - and there was more in the bottle. As I watched the busboy stacking the dishes at the end of the table I wondered if Bottega had forgotten they were a restaurant and not a luncheonette. Oh well, I'm sure the tourists will be fighting each other to get a reservation. I'll take Jole and Solage in Calistoga, or Bouchon and Ad Hoc across the street in Yountville.

            2 Replies
            1. re: upvalley

              Thanks Upvalley. We're with you on liking Ad Hoc, Solage and Bouchon. Haven't tried Jole but will have to give it a try since you seem to have similar favorites. Hopefully the Italian restaurant Keller's girlfriend is opening will be better Italian as it would be great to have a good local Italian.

              1. re: upvalley

                What a shame, upvalley! We are total food snobs and have already been to Bottega three times. The most recent was for lunch with my family of seven. It was as stellar as the other visits. We pretty much have ordered every item on the menu by now - and have not been disappointed with one dish. Our favorites are the shaved Brussels sprouts salad with almonds and a refreshing lemon dressing. It is large enough for two to share as a starter. Another favorite is the melt-in-your-mouth gnocchi. I don't usually use 'light as a feather' when describing that dish, but these are amazingly delicate and fluffy. They're topped with a roasted marinara sauce that beautifully complements the pillows. And the pasta soaked in Zinfandel was intensely crimson with a personality that made it sing. Service rivaled some of the best I've had in the Napa Valley - attentive but not overbearing. The wine list was exceptional; prices quite reasonable. Michale Chiarello has always been at the top of his game but I think he has really come into his own here.We welcome him back in the kitchen!

                 
              2. Sorry to report a really bad experience at Bottega and we really wanted to like it. We had a 730pm reservation last night and arrived a few minutes early. We definitely liked the space, but that's about the only favorable thing we have to say about the restaurant. When we inquired about our seats after 20 minutes they brought us a glass of prosecco and when the host handed them to us said "maybe this will make you less impatient while you wait" - wow, was that an apology for them being 30 minutes late on seating? We shrugged it off as he probably didn't mean it as snippy as it sounded.

                Once we were seated the table next to us told us they were out of the crab. OK so we understand you can run out of a special. When the waitress arrived she indicated they were actually out of four key entrees on the menu (and these weren't "specials" they were just ordinary menu items). Give me a break - you're out of four entrees at 8pm? Again, we were with a fun group so we wanted to shrug it off so I told the waitress we'll think about what we want over a glass of wine so we ordered a bottle of wine. She came back and told us they were out of the wine we ordered. At that point we called Ad Hoc and they were able to squeeze us in (had an amazing dinner there as always).

                I understand new restaurant kinks but they've been open almost a month and we're talking about lacking in basics - unfriendly hostess, late seating, running out of several food items and the wine list already "out". When they've only been open a month, I question whether they ever really had the wine in stock. We were very excited to have an Italian restaurant within walking distance of our house. Unfortunately if they don't improve rapidly, I don't think we're going to have an Italian restaurant nearby for very long. We did feel badly for the waitress as she was very nice and think she had probably had a rough evening from several tables given the above issues.

                -----
                Bottega
                6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

                3 Replies
                1. re: teejaymoore

                  I was so disappointed with Bottega, maybe its just been over-hyped. The service was awful, they forgot our wine, brought a salad after the entree had been served and then did the same thing with spinach.

                  Add to that the place is to big, noisy and the area we sat in was hot. We took friends from out of town, overall it was just OK. Canceled reservations in July, going to Cook...some of the best food I've ever eaten.

                  1. re: seriouseater

                    Please at first I thought it was a typo and you were so upset that you were going to stay home and prepare dinner for a whole month. Then I found Cook in St. Helena. Can you give more information in another thread as there is little in Place.

                    -----
                    Cook
                    1310 Main St, Saint Helena, CA 94574

                    1. re: wolfe

                      Cook is wonderful. More of a locals place as it's not fancy. Food is very good. Not the best meal ever but very good (price is more reasonable as well so no complaints). Service can occasionally be a touch slow but we love it and think it's a great litte find in downtown St. Helena.

                2. any new opinions now that it's been going a while

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: NotGeorge

                    I actually went and managed to stay for dinner last weekend. Overall better experience than the first time, but still don't love it (nor do most locals). I still think all the raves are from people that are more interested to see a "celebrity chef" rather than a truly good restaurant (you don't see Keller walking around Ad Hoc or Bouchon much but the food is excellent). That being said - the goods and the bads....

                    Nice bar, starter (mozzerella) and pasta (chicken canneloni) were both very nice. The entrees were not as good. Short ribs were fatty (and I love short ribs so realize the cut has some fat) and my sister ordered the crab (consisted of a bowl of shells with almost non-existent crab meat). Service was spotty - took forever to get a drink when we sat down and gaps in food courses. They're not that new and should have this worked out.

                    Overall - nice to have an Italian restaurant in town but think Vida and the restaurant in the Hotel Luca will likely be better additions (if they open soon given the economy). I would go back but I would stick with the pastas and starters and I also would sit at the bar. While the dining room is pretty, I think the bartenders are much better organized and friendly.

                    1. re: teejaymoore

                      VIDA Dont hold your breath!

                    2. re: NotGeorge

                      I was there last week Wednesday for dinner and had a mixed experience. I loved the ambiance, like several peole have said, but the service is still off. While pleasant, my server seemed really rushed. And he didn't hear my complete order because he was in such a rush to get me going for the night, I think. I think the staff is still dealing with the newness popularity of the place.

                      As for the food, I really enjoyed the burratta but I ordered the rabbit sugo and it was super salty, even more salty than Italian standards. I wouldn't recommend ordering it if you see it. The quail I got was too sweet with the honey glaze and didn't have a nice sear that I think really brings out the quail skin. So that was disappointing.

                      To top it off, I think I was overcharged for my wine (and didn't realize it till later). They don't sell wine by the glass but by "quartino" which they say equals 1 and a half glass. I ordered a red quartino that I thought was $12 but when I checked my credit bill recently, I noticed it said $25 for the quartino. That's way overpriced for 1.5 glass. So either they overcharged me or they're charging too much for mediocre wine.

                      http://singleguychef.blogspot.com/200...

                    3. We made it to Bottega for dinner. In general, we liked the decor and and found the food to be very flavorful, although various dishes were oversalted, a rare complaint for a salt-lover like me!

                      We started with the daily special, which was bigeye tuna sashimi and separately salmon tartare served on a salt brick - literally - with a mini watercress salad. The tuna was fantastically fresh and the salmon was also excellent.

                      We had the ricotta gnocchi and the clams/sausage taglierini. The gnocchi had the most amazing texture - literally feather-light and melted away in your mouth. The taglierini's sauce was excellent (although salty) - the sausage bits were tough in texture, but added great depth to the dish. The side of garlic spinach was fresh and tasty, though again too salty (we couldn't finish).

                      We ended with the chocolate caramel torte, which was good, though a little tough. The espresso icecream on top was fantastic.

                      All in all, high-quality flavors, though the heavy hand with salt was somewhat disappointing. Chiarello himself was greeting diners in the dining room so I assume that the food is what it is meant to be.