What to Order From La Nebbia's Expanded Menu

The Noe Valley neighborhood favorite closes out the year with a full-on Italian bill of fare
November 11, 2014
by Carolyn Alburger

Some nine months after La Ciccia owners Massimiliano Conti and Lorella Degan opened the more casual, neighboring La Nebbia, things have evolved enough that it's time for a revisit. Conti and Degan set out to create a light-hearted Italian enoteca, serving meats, pizze and lasagne. Slowly but surely, they learned that the neighborhood wanted the option to sit and linger over a longer meal. So chef Conti expanded the menu to include 13 more hot and cold dishes, new pizza options and salumi flights. Diners can now pop in for a glass of wine; sit with friends for apps, pizzas and desserts; or indulge in the many other possibilities in between. Based on a recent visit, here are the early standouts, complete with suggested pairings for each pick. La Nebbia is a wine bar, after all. 

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Tuna Tartare

We were hesitant to order the omnipresent tuna starter, but bar manager Ted Merkel convinced us that this was the tuna tartare to end all tuna tartares. A welcome break from the decades-old version with avocado and mustard, Chef Conti's preparation ($13) is notably seasonal and Italian. The mound of ruby-red tuna is dotted with grapefruit cubes, finished with paprika and grassy olive oil, and served with a palate cleansing salad of fennel and arugula. It's a great way to start the meal. 
Pair with: Franciacorta, an aromatic, soft white sparkling wine

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Spanish Flight

The new meat flights are designed so you can taste various cuts of the same regional slant on charcuterie side-by-side. We couldn't resist The Spaniard ($24). Start with smokey, paprika-laced lomo, piled on nicely browned, housemade foccacia. Move on to the Serrano. Finish with the mother of all cured meats: Iberico, aged for 18 months and smooth as butter. 
Pair with: House Lambrucsco, a fizzy red with juicy cherry notes

Eggplant Scamorza

Scamorza, the smokey, ripe mozzarellalike cheese from Campania, Italy, is the star of this vegetable dish ($10), layered up with charred eggplant and tomato rounds. A dusting of salty Parm and basil balances out each bite.
Pair with: A lemony, slighty nutty white from the Campania region of Italy

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Lamb Skewers

This straightforward dish ($15) presents locally sourced lamb with little fanfare beyond reduced balsamic vinegar and a pile of earthy eggplant. The meat is beautifully cooked and really sings when it's eaten with the right glass of grapes. 
Pair with: Castello di Buttrio Merlot, a raw Italian presentation of the maligned grape with character to spare

Semolina Gnocchi

The runaway surprise of the evening was this polentalike gnocchi ($11). You're expecting a buttery, carb-y dish, but each bite is surprisingly light, with layers of flavor from the oven's bubbly char, a toss of seasonally appropriate sage and a hidden layer of earthy chard waiting for your fork at the bottom. You'll eat every last bite, especially if you follow our pairing advice. 
Pair with: Valter Sirk Rebula Ribolla Gialla, a round golden wine with notes of apple 

wine bar
noe valley
under the radar
italian food
la ciccia
la nebbia