Ray's Boathouse feels like it has been there forever and hasn't really changed that much over the years. The lunch fare was pretty standard, but the service was exceptional and so was the view. Enotria has been open five or six days. David Hahne, chef and co-owner from Minneapolis, bought the space and equipment from Mark Manley who recently closed the fabulous Union Bay Cafe. David and co-owner girlfriend Amber Luton are creating a new Italian experience in this space at Enotria with an interesting menu and a very good wine list. Enotria - Greek for Southern Italy, specifically Calabria, or just Italy in general. Philological Phil wonders whether the "eno" root is shared with enology. The decor is hip and seems to be anticipating a "scene." A shake down cruise is a shakedown cruise. Despite the various difficulties of getting it all together on the fifth day, our server Vika did a great job and David put together a very serviceable wine list and menu. The pan-seared Sweetbreads Wrapped In Parma Prosciutto were excellent and creative, but a little overdone. We checked out two of the four raw items on the menu - the Sea Scallops on shaved fennel were cool, but bland. The Veal Tartar was tasty, but needed some zest - pepper? Diane really liked the Gnocchi With Braised Oxtail And Leeks. Rose liked the the Steamed Clams With Pancetta, Tomatoes and Chili Flakes.
Vika was kind enough to bring me a flight of three white glass pours - Orvieto, Soave, and Verdicchio. The Orvieto was tart and fruity with a spicy nose. The Soave was suave and easy - smooth, fresh, and simple. The first pour of the Verdicchio seemed corked. The second pour tasted much less of TCA. I chose the Soave. I've had much better versions of these wines, but they were good enough and the price point was right. Diane had 2005 Terre de Sole Sangiovese from Sicily. It made a soft, smooth round entry to the mouth with lots of good fruit flavor followed by some tannin - an excellent food wine. The 2005 Fattoria de Bagnolo Chianti Colli Fiorenti was soft fruity and velvety - an excellent wine by the glass. The glaring omission on the wine list was a Dolcetto. Vika told me they had one in the back but didn't put it on the list because they had questions about it. She poured me a small taste and they were right - it was the worst Dolcetto I've tasted. The average quality of Dolcetto is quite high so I'm sure they won't have any trouble finding a good one. BTW, Rose liked her Martini. It will be interesting to see how Enotria evolves. Definitely a place to watch and go back to.