Taking over what was formerly the La Toque space in Rutherford (the restaurant moved to downtown Napa in 2008), is Alex Italian Restaurant (1140 Rutherford Road), which opened quietly last month under the helm of former Bottega chef de cuisine Nick Ritchie. It's owned by a sommelier, Alessandro Sbrendola, and the menu focuses on the regions of Liguria and Emilia-Romagna, where his family is from. Appropriate to those regions, there are some comforting, fall-appropriate dishes on there like a pecorino and wild mushroom sformatino; potato and red beet gnocchi with Gorgonzola-walnut cream sauce; egg fettucine with rabbit sugo; and glazed pork cheeks over polenta.
Mr. Bauer hints that this will be the subject of an upcoming review, and that he's been wandering up around Napa in general trying out new places like Brassica and places that have seen some chef shuffles like Bardessono.
You can read the full menu for yourself here, which is subject to seasonal change that is if you can make out the flowery, non-reader-friendly script and make reservations here. Note that they're open seven nights a week, and six days a week for lunch.
Alex Italian Restaurant - 1140 Rutherford Road, Rutherford, CA - 707.967.5500 - Open seven days a week dinner, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; and lunch, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; but closed for Monday lunch.
Lots of new restaurants opening in the Napa Valley [Scoop]
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