Carr Jones designed this charming restaurant in Lafayette California. Jones who died in 1965 was known throughout Northern and Southern California as one of the premier storybook builders. Postino is a great example of his work as you dine in dimly lit rooms amongst beautiful fireplaces and slate floors. The setting evokes images of traveling throughout Europe, discovering not only great food but inspiring architecture. It is truly a special place – not to mention the food is brilliant. Stewart Beatty, Executive Chef and born and bred local, delivers some fantastic dishes that compete with the beautiful setting to overwhelm your senses.
Our meal started off with the Insalata Di Cavolleti, brown butter brussel sprouts with warm pears, toasted hazelnuts and shaved pecorino, which highlighted Chef Beatty’s use of fresh local ingredients. Chef Beatty strives to use sustainable ingredients throughout his menu and this first dish hit it out of the park. Along with the Insalata Di Cavolleti I ordered the Insalata Mela – seasonal mixed greens with shaved apples, celery, creamy gorgonzola dressing and candies walnuts. This dish, although delicious, lacked the “stinky” cheese kick that I was hoping for. Maybe its just me but when I see this veined Italian blue cheese I want it to be pungent.
Now for the main event – a pan roasted duck breast over herb spaetzle, garlic duck sausage and grilled scallions with a stone mustard duck glace. As this dish was placed in front of me a huge smile crept onto my face as I realized the utter joy that I was about to experience. The smells were intoxicating: the mustard glace enhanced the salty nutty flavor of the breast meat while the heady smell of the garlic duck sausage provided a formidable undertone for the entire dish. The herb spaetzle was a nice neutral base and best described as a knopfle style spaetzle – little pellet sized morsels of fresh dough. Other dishes that graced our table included: Melanzana Parmigiana, crisp eggplant parmesan with marinara, grilled zucchini, balsamic molassa and EVOO; Papardelle, ribbons of fresh pasta with pork sugo and reggiasno cheese and last but not least the Spada, pan roasted swordfish with smokehouse almonds, golden raisins and rosemary butter over garlic whipped potatoes.
I love restaurants that make an immediate impression leaving you wanting more. I can not wait for another excuse to dine at this amazing culinary gem. I can’t think of a better setting to enjoy friends and family east of the Caldecott Tunnel – 3565 Mt. Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549.