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Lured in by the 20% discount offer for June, this week I had lunch at Rustic, the restaurant at Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
This was my first time in the restaurant. I opted for a table outdoors under the pergola.
Here's the view toward the east.
The complimentary pettole were served in an oil-stained paper bag.
The chewy pettole are fried in olive oil, then flecked with sea salt. I enjoyed them with a bit of the house hot sauce.
The menu traces the recipe for its Caesar salad back to San Francisco's Caesar Grill. It was located in the Sentinel Building that now houses Coppola's Cafe Zoetrope. The Caesar dressing includes raw egg and all the richness it brings. Crisp romaine was liberally coated with the dressing and finely grated cheese. Croutons and the optional anchovy filet completed the composition. I enjoyed every bite.
With a wood-burning oven in the center of the room, ordering pizza here seemed to be a must. I tried the Pizza Luigino, essentially a Margherita with added oregano. This was overbaked on the top, drying out the rim of the crust.
The bottom was too blonde for Neapolitan style. The crust was crispy rather than tender, and some spots turned brittle and cracker-like. Sauce was applied too heavily, weighing down the paper thin crust. Besides all of these faults, it came to the table barely warm with the cheese already congealing.
No wine for me this time, ordering ice tea instead. Due to a service issue, the beverage charge was removed from my bill. Still, with tax and tip, my lunch came to $30 after discount.
I can recommend the Caesar, but the pizza and iced tea were below average. Though Rustic is one of the few restaurants in a vineyard setting, the trade-off of food quality for the view is not worth it to me.
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