PRIMA Trattoria e Negozio di Vini, is one of the few bay area restaurants where a diner can feast on classic Italian cuisine and sample a broad array of exceptional wines at excellent prices. Prima is a full service, white table cloth restaurant and a wine merchant. Unlike other fine restaurants, nearly all of the wines that are served are available for take home enjoyment.
PRIMA has an extensive menu featuring a broad array of antipasto insalate, pizzette, paste, risotto secondi Patti, and dolce. All items are made on the premises including the delicate gnocci, paste and dolce. Full use is made of the PRIMA wood burning oven to create special fish, game and dessert dishes.
At PRIMA great wines and foods are brought together unlike any other restaurant. Each week a different selection of twenty wines are available by the taste or glass and are paired with menu specials. Upwards of 1,000 other wines can be enjoyed by the bottle at bargain retail paces plus a nominal $8 corkage fee. Plus, PRIMA has an extensive collection of older Italian, California, and French wines that are no longer on the market. An informative newsletter, which highlights new wine arrivals, special values and upcoming events, including wine tastings, is regularly mailed free to more than 6,000 customers.
PRIMA was honored by the Wine Enthusiast Magazine as one of the " 1995 Wine Friendliest Restaurants in America". Only 60 restaurants nationwide were accorded this award, which singles out excellence in wine service, storage, wine list creativity, and cuisine. Other restaurants so awarded included Spago, Square One, Vivere, Chanterelle, Felidia, Le Cirque, and Montrachet, among others. No wonder PRIMA is always a stopping off spot for such international wine luminaries such as Piero Antinori, Remi Krug, Christian Pol Roger, Gerard Jaboulet, Roberto Guldener, Angelo Gaja, Marc de Grazia and many more.
Like a bit of Florence, PRIMA offers dining in the warm, artful trattoria or al fresco at a sidewalk table, all with a view of the action on Walnut Creek's Main Street. The several, cozy dining rooms offer several different dining options--from the energetic il Forno room where jazz is played nightly on the grand piano, to the Caminetto room where guests can be near the warmth of a fireplace, or the subdued Enoteca room where diners can view the reserve wine cellar. In addition, there's always lots of action in the lively wine bar or on the sidewalk patio.
Founded by Michael and Janet Verlander in 1977 as a wine and food destination spot, PRIMA has been the catalyst for a new gourmet district in Walnut Creek. Their most recent expansions and remodels in 1992 and 1995 have catapulted PRIMA to one the most important restaurants in the Bay Area.
Executive Chef PRIMA Trattoria
Giuseppe Ferrara is the Executive Chef at the PRIMA Trattoria, located in Walnut Creek, California.
When the famiglia Verlander expanded PRIMA in 1992, they further enhanced their offerings by bringing an acclaimed executive chef to direct kitchen operations. Giuseppe hails from a small town near Salerno, off Italy's Amalfi coast, where he learned his art at the apron strings of his Mama.
Ferrara uses the fresh, seasonal ingredients from small northern California farms, which he compares to those of his homeland, as a launching pad for his traditional Italian cuisine. As illustrated by the restaurant's rave reviews since he began designing the dishes, he meets the challenge of Verlander's desire to extract and concentrate flavors without fussy treatment. Giuseppe came to the United States in the mid-80's and earned culinary kudos for his innovative dishes at Prego, Harry's Bar and American Grill in San Francisco, and Spiedini in Walnut Creek. When you taste his foods, you experience Giuseppe's heart and soul.
For the Pork:4-4 oz.pieces of pork loin denuded and cut 1/2 inch thick
For The Marinade:
Emulsify olive oil with the rest of the ingredients and pour over the meat. Marinate for a minimum of 4 hours or best if left over night.
Peel and core pear. Put pear in a small pot with all ingredients and cook until soft, but not mushy. Take pear out and reduce juices by half. Discard cinnamon stick, lemon peal and reserve liquid.
For The Sauce:
Grill pork meat about 2 minutes on each side. Place sauce in a medium size sauté pan and grill meat. Finish cooking the pork in the sauce on one side only. Grill marks should be visible and not covered by the thick sauce.
Cut pears in half and fan out for garnishing the plate. Pour sauce on the plate and place meat on top, drizzle some gorgonzola and pieces of toasted walnuts on the pork. Serve dish with roasted new potatoes and lightly sautéed fresh vegetables.
Provided by PRIMA Trattoria e Negozio di Vini
This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.
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This page modified February 2007
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