Donato Scotti, formerly of La Strada, recently opened his own place in Redwood City: Donato Enoteca.
The overall ambience says “elegant farmhouse,” says DeeGlaze, while Melanie Wong notes the progression from the casual tables and open kitchen near the entrance to the more formal dining area deeper inside. The wine room also spills onto the patio.
The menu is less casual than La Strada, Melanie says, but prices are reasonable in this recession-sensitive time. A great example: bruschetta di cinghiale, $8, topped with hand-pulled braised wild boar, onion, “and a bite of Chianti vinegar.” “The meat definitely took center stage, and it was flavorful and abundant,” DeeGlaze says. It’s served on grilled thin slices of the house-made ciabatta.
Ravioli di fave, filled with a mixture of fava beans and ricotta and topped with more fresh favas, peeled cherry tomatoes, and a drizzle of arugula pesto, are “light, green-tasting, and flavorful” says DeeGlaze.
Melanie Wong liked the side dish bianchi di spagna, big white beans with crispy bits of guanciale. “Fragrant with garlic and rosemary, the beans were creamy and then seemed to be browned at high heat, crisping and splitting the skins. The flavor of the cured meat seeped deep into the tasty beans.”
Pizza crust tends to be underdone, but the margherita uses sweet, ripe crushed tomatoes and a touch of dried oregano as well as fresh basil, Melanie Wong says. The fresh mozzarella is flavorful, with “some of the tastiest bites being the margins where cheese meets tomato with the milky richness transferring a creamy flavor and texture to the sauce.”
Housemade pastas like spaghetti con cipollotti gamberoni and bigoli e coda (oxtail pasta) are recommended, and portions are large enough to serve as a main course. Fish dishes go over well too: grilled sea bass with grilled fennel and tomato, and sea bream in flavorful tomato sauce.
For dessert, DeeGlaze was happier with shortbread with grilled peaches and basil cream than Melanie was with her panna cotta and mango sorbetto. Vanilla gelato is nice and custardy, though.
Donato Enoteca [Peninsula]
1041 Middlefield Road, Redwood City
Board Link: Donato Enoteca, Redwood City