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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
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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. 

[photo credit: desogos.com]

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


[photo credit: desogos.com]

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


[photo credit: desogos.com]

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