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400 W. Spain St. Send to Phone
Big house, small plates.

Dinner nightly, Brunch Sun.

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THIS RESTAURANT IS CLOSED Estate Restaurant Review

: This buttercup-colored, 1870s Victorian mansion gives off a genteel impression upon approach, reminiscent of Sunday supper at the home of a well-heeled aunt. The former residence has ties to General Mariano Vallejo, key in California’s transition from Mexico to U.S. ownership. Owner Sondra Bernstein (of The Girl & The Fig fame) has updated the interior parlors, swapping chandeliers for basket lamps, and a goose mural for a tasteful cinnamon paint job and altered Italian movie stills. The Italian menu mainly plays in the small-plates realm, though it’s less obvious than usual given the multiplex of categories, some with as few as two choices. For instance: “from the garden” includes asparagus with lardo, sweet-and-sour glazed cippolinis and roasted peppers with anchovy; “salumi workshop” boasts house creations such as prosciutto, bresaola with minted melon and a cured meat platter du jour; “chef favorites” offers offal; and wood-fired baby squid with peppers and pine nuts represents “from the sea.” More headings: salad, pizza, cheese---and don’t forget the entrées, many of which come in half-sizes. It’s a bit dizzying. But braised rabbit pappardelle with nettles or saffron risotto cake with prawns in tomato broth stand out. And if you haven’t over-sampled, add on the sugar donuts with Nutella dipping sauce. Wines start in Italy then hop the globe.


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