It's Go Time for GozoBy Ruth Tobias | February 24, 2014 By Ruth Tobias | February 24, 2014
It's been many months in the making, but Gozo - the much-awaited Baker project from Frank Jolley IV and Dominic Valenti - is finally about to open its doors. Looking at this Friday for the soft launch, Jolley describes Gozo as "the marriage of an Italian enoteca and a Spanish tapas bar," adding: "this is how people in wine country eat." (UPDATE: the official opening is Friday, March 7.)
As a former Napa valley resident, Jolley should know. That's where he met his chef Nicholas Petrilli, formerly of Michael Chiarello's Bottega and Francis Ford Coppola's Rustic. Along with bar manager Fletcher Cameron, the Gozo team aims to offer "a high level of food and service with a laid-back atmosphere." Here's a primer on what to expect from Gozo. Look out for our preview of dishes to rev your taste-buds tomorrow.
The Vibe: The merger of two spaces - formerly Deluxe and Delite - makes for an airy, open dining room, enhanced by the open kitchen, whitewashed brick and a smattering of artworks and knick knacks. Check out, for instance, the old suitcases transformed into speakers above the bar (pictured), through which Jolley is planning to pipe tunes by everyone from Barry White and old-school hip-hop to The Shins. "You can bring your foodie friends from New York; you can bring your parents. We’re not here to be a flash in the pan," he adds.
The Food: Rustic Mediterranean cuisine is the name of the game: think small and family-style plates of pasta, risottos, polenta and the like, lots of beans and greens, roasted meats and seasonal fruit crisps, with "as much coming from the wood-fired oven as possible," in Petrilli's words. That includes what Jolley calls "pizza 3.0," combining "a great char on the bottom and beautiful speckling on the surface" with toppings like rabbit and oxtail. What it won't include are "lots of squeeze bottles and smears" - Gozo's all about keeping it simple, cucina povera-style. (View our slideshow here.)
The Booze: Craft beers and cocktails are a given in this town, but wine will be the primary focus here. Jolley is putting together a "dynamic list of lower-alcohol, higher-acid, food-friendly wines you don't see elsewhere, from great winemakers who drive dusty trucks and have three-legged dogs." However, he adds, "It is our charge to make it approachable. If you can’t pronounce it, let me pour a little something minerally for you to stand up to that sardine." We're looking forward to the opportunity.
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