Miminashi opens tomorrow in downtown Napa, taking the honor as city's only izakaya-style restaurant, floating in a sea of California cuisine. Chef/owner Curtis Di Fede, previously of Oenotri, has been researching Japanese culture and cuisine for years, including time spent at Terra in St. Helena and Wagamama in London. Now he's ready to open his own take, using California cuisine and Japanese flavors.
The design itself is already a vast departure from Napa's more sedate style, starting with a seriously unique hand-carved entryway. It's a result of a collaboration between Di Fede and designer Michael McDermott, featuring an interior clad in light, natural wood, from the walls and ceilings to the booths. The high, peaked ceilings are mean to represent Buddhist and Shinto temples, overlooking a large bar in the center of the room. An open grill, which is where the yakitori will be cooked over binchotan (a traditional Japanese charcoal), is the backdrop for an omakase-style chef's counter. Booths line the wall, with dramatic high backs for privacy.
The restaurant's menu is fashioned after the popular Japanese style of pub food, which includes yakitori, noodles and rice dishes, and larger plates like a whole roasted chicken with daikon radish, cayenne and dashi. Japanese soft serve, "soft cream," will provide desert options, with toppings like tempura crispies and sesame honeycomb candy. There'll also be Sightglass coffee, craft beers, wines and cocktails to accompany. Check out the full menus here.
The management team includes general manager Octavio Barrera (Oenotri), wine director Jessica Pinzon (Thomas Keller Restaurant Group) and bar director Andrew Salazar.
Miminashi opens Saturday, May 7, and will open daily for dinner Sunday - Thursday from 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to midnight. (Daily lunch service will start in June, which is also when the takeout window offering ice cream and coffee will open.)