Say hello to Molti Amici, your new favorite Cal-Ital Healdsburg haunt.
The restaurant, now open in the former Campo Fina space, comes care of a trio of SingleThread alums: Jonny Barr (who was the former GM of the three-Michelin-starred restaurant), as well as Melissa Yanc and Sean McGaughey, who together also run nearby Troubadour and bakery Quail & Condor.
“We’re trying to pay respect to tradition while embracing the new,” says Barr about Molti Amici, which translates to “many friends.” Below is a rundown of the menu musts, according to Barr.
Amberjack Crudo with Cucumbers, Mint, Fennel
Crudos are always a nice way to start a meal. “It’s light and beautiful, especially as the warm weather starts,” says Barr. They source whole kanpachi from Japan that gets broken down and sliced into sashimi. It’s lightly salted, then plated with juiced cucumber that’s spiked with mint and fennel. The dish gets garnished with cucumber medallions for some extra textural crunch. “It’s a vibrant dish that speaks to the season,” says Barr.
Escarole, bagna cauda, Parmesan
This is listed in the vegetable section of the menu, and is Molti Amici’s take on the Caesar salad. Instead of using little gems or romaine, the restaurant sources escarole, which has the freshness but also provides a layer of bitterness as well. “We’re trying to give guests something that’s familiar but different,” says Barr.
For the bagna cauda, there are two different versions — both contain roasted garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil for vegetarians, and the other ones comes spiked with salty savory anchovies for the omnivores.
All pastas are made in-house. The raviolo al’uovo is a stunner — it features an egg dough that gets sheeted, formed by hand, and cut to shape. It’s stuffed with ricotta and an egg yolk, and gets sauced with brown butter and a few leaves of fried sage. The large ravioli is the size of an entrée plate.
“You get the richness of the brown butter, the sweetness of ricotta cheese and mixed in with the egg yolk, and the balanced truffle flavor without it being over the top,” says Barr. “The fried sage comes in and breaks it up a bit.”
There will be three different types of wood-fired pizzas: a white pie, a red pie, and a green pie. Barr is most excited about the latter, which features a basil pumpkin seed pesto. It gets topped with roasted onions, mustard greens, buffalo mozzarella, and Parmesan, and more and more mustard greens once it comes out of the oven.
The 12’’ pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven using a blend of almond and apple wood. They’re inspired by Neapolitan pizza, but feature a crispy crust: “We’re looking for a puffy crust, nice char, and we try to have structural integrity so it can hold toppings,” says Barr.
Save room for dessert. Melissa Yanc’s tiramisu is classic, but turned up to a high level, thanks in part to the use of high quality dark chocolate as well as KoHana Hawaiian agricole rum that’s made with cacao and honey. The result is a rich, creamy, complex, rum-forward version of the dessert. “I like to taste the rum in my tiramisu,” says Barr.
Omar Mamoon is a San Francisco-based writer & cookie dough professional. Find him at @ommmar.