Chef Curtis Di Fede is working on his first solo project after last year's split from Oenotri in downtown Napa. The new project is a world away from the rustic Italian fare that he created with fellow chef-owner Tyler Rodde, taking on the popular izakaya food of Japan at the forthcoming Miminashi.
The city of Napa isn't exactly overflowing with Asian options (with the noted exception of neighboring Morimoto), and even fewer in the style of izakaya, which is traditionally small items meant to be shared with beer or sake. Inside Scoop reports that Di Fede will focus on ramen, yakitori (skewered, grilled food that is often chicken) and other dishes that will offer a California approach to seasonality. The chef also plans to serve Japanese whiskeys, sakes and shochu, alongside Napa Valley wines, of course.
Although the chef's most recent endeavor focused on the food of Southern Italy, Di Fede has logged time as an extern at London's Wagamama noodle bar, as well as working under chef Hiro Sone at Terra in St. Helena. And as he works through the more tedious parts of opening a restaurant (like securing permits and actually building it), the chef is headed to Japan for even more research on his chosen genre.
Right now the restaurant is set for a November opening; stay tuned for more information.