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Restaurants & Bars

Butterscotch Pudding @ Bistro Don Giovanni

Melanie Wong | Apr 3, 200403:02 PM

Bistro Don Giovanni is one of the most popular restaurants in Napa. I’m not a fan of the cooking but returned for a business lunch here last week and found two items to recommend.

The roasted beet salad with haricot vert and bits of blue cheese continues to be a delicious and safe bet. Perfectly proportioned with lovely balance and light dressing to highlight the primary ingredients.

The top shelf butterscotch pudding is softly folded into an oversize martini glass and garnished with chocolate sauce and a dollop of barely sweetened whipped cream. The pudding itself is a brownish taupe shade, not the orangey color of packaged butterscotch chips used by some restaurants or the pudding mix of our childhood. The texture is seductive and it has a deep browned butter, caramel and milky taste with just a bit of salt. Fans of the proverbial skin are out of luck.

The misses included a tasty but overdone roast chicken (great broccoli rabe on the side), halibut that was dry around the edges and overcooked, greasy and damp fritto misto, over salted clam linguine with hard cubes of sopressata, and a grainy and curdled molten chocolate cake. The hazelnut crème brulée was okay, albeit stiffer than it should be. I had ordered a side of spinach with garlic to go with my clam linguine. The server failed to tell me that the identical spinach preparation tops the linguine. That said, I was the only one in our party who was less than thrilled with the meal.

Our wine was Bellavista’s Franciacorta Brut that was appreciated by those who find champagne too lean and acidic. Ripe peachy nose follows through to a creamy mousse with toast, green apple and more peach fuzz on the palate.


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