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Ca'Momi Osteria, Napa

Author: Alexandra Russell
March, 2016 Issue

Ca’Momi Osteria
1141 First Street
(707) 224-MOMI
“Heartcrafted” Italian cuisine
Dinner nightly; late night menu available on weekends
Entrees (dinner): $16-$32
Full bar, nice wine list
My husband was raised in an Italian household, and he’s downright picky when it comes to the cuisine and culture of his ancestors. So when we walked into Ca’Momi Osteria and saw a (muted) Sofia Loren movie projected on the wall, then was served a “perfect” negroni pre-meal, he broke into a smile that lasted all night.
Founded by Valentina Guolo-Migotto, Stefano Migotto and Dario De Conti, the osteria is the second Napa location for the Italian-born partners; Ca’Momi Enoteca has been welcoming patrons in Oxbow Public Market since 2010.
Dario and Stefano also make wine under the Ca’Momi brand as well as for the Do It for the Love Foundation (www.doitforthelove.org), while Valentina is the credited mastermind behind the osteria menu. To our delight, we were treated to a sampling of the chef’s favorite menu choices, each paired with Ca’Momi wine.
Bresaola e rucola was a shareable plate of air-cured creminelli (beef), topped with arugula, parmigiano reggiano and lemon vinaigrette. Made locally, the creminelli is at-once smoky, salty and spicy, and it matched the peppery arugula and salty cheese. Insalata di polpo, grilled rock octopus and fingerling potatoes dressed in parsley-lemon vinaigrette, was delightful. The meat was tender, almost buttery, with an unexpected sweetness, while the potatoes brought an earthiness to the dish and the lemon added a bright pop. Throughout the meal, we were served menu items we wouldn’t have thought to order—but that we’ll surely seek out next time we dine there.Both starters were wonderfully paired with Ca’Secco (dry, light), their first entry in the sparkling wine category.
De Conti is certified by the Verace Pizza Napoletana association (VPN), an international organization that certifies pizzerias that meet strict requirements of authentic Neapolitan pizza making. We tried the Montanara, for which the dough round is lightly fried in oil before being topped and placed in the 900-degree oven. The resulting crust is both chewy and crunchy, with bits of char adding a smoky element. Topped with a fresh tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella di bufala and basil, it perfectly matched with the Rosso di Napa, a lush, juicy blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. We also tried a slice topped with Ca’Momi’s housemade olio picante, a spicy olive oil and pepper blend that brought up the heat nicely.
Tortellini in brodo is, likewise, a certified traditional recipe. The small, pillow-shaped pastas, filled with a mix of prosciutto, mortadella and pork, floated in a rich, simple capon and bone broth. It wasn’t overly seasoned and the tortellinis added little flavor exposions. It paired well with a soft, rich Chardonnay.
Pasta dishes were next. Pasta con radicchio e zucca (butternut squash, radicchio, shallot and sage) was nutty and buttery, with pasta caps to hold the cheese and sauce. Delish. But more suprising was the bigoli con rovinazzi, thick spaghetti topped with organic chicken offal (organ meats) in a red wine, sage and butter sauce. The dish was earthy and rich—“peasant food, elevated,” said our server, Melissa—and both dishes paired with Ca’Momi’s Reserve Pinot Noir (sweet cherry with a fortified nose).
The huge stinco al forno con patate (roasted pork shank with herbs and fingerling potatoes) was slow roasted then finished in the wood oven. The result was succulent and flavorful; the herbed potatoes were also excellent. It was accompanied by a bowl of erbe cotta (leafy greens, housemade pancetta and onion soffritto), a dish that’s “always on an Italian table.” We also tried trippa alla contadina, braised honeycomb tripe, “dressed like Thanksgiving dinner,” said Melissa. It was delicate and soft, with delicious fall flavors—a real eye-opener. These dishes were accompanied by an intense, deep Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
By the time dessert came around, we were ready to burst. But how could we resist the light, airy millefoglie (flaky puff pastry) layered with the honey-custard goodness of marsala zabaglione? Or the housemade cannolo siciliano filled with Bellwether Farms sheep ricotta (with a hint of orange and topped with a drizzle of dark chocolate)? We couldn’t. The Passito Dolce white dessert wine was decadent, with cognac-like overtones.
Like any respectable Italian dinner, we left overfed and indulged. Grazie.


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