West suburban foodies cried Croque Monsieur tears when they learned Gavin Kaysen was shutting down Bellecour in Wayzata. But when one celebrity chef’s door closes in Wayzata, another opens. Talented and prolific chef Daniel Del Prado is bringing pizzas, handmade pastas, and gloriously roasted vegetables to the tony shores of Lake Minnetonka. Want a fancy date night? You can’t miss by ordering grilled prawns with notes of citrus and fennel, topped with burrata.
Fancy but still chill? Impress your date with the slight heat of the Vongole (Italian for “clams”) pizza, with littleneck clams and zucchini. Baller entree? There’s a 40-ounce Argentinian steak, but we loved the light, flaky, delicate sautéed halibut with brown butter sauce.
Josefina also works well as a casual hang. I’m head-over-heels obsessed with the simplicity and bold flavors of the $12 marinara pizza. Calabrian chilis give it a zip, but it’s the sweetness of garlic confit (garlic cloves slowly cooked in olive oil) that made this pizza special.
Every Del Prado dish at all of his restaurants has something extra that surprises and, ideally, delights. The radiatori (radiator-shaped) pasta has incredibly tender braised lamb, a brightness from mint, but then a saltiness from anchovy and a beautiful richness from toasted tomatoes in the sauce.
The brussels sprouts, which are legit crispy, get a dollop of pine nut gremolata, a green herb sauce. The wood-fired beets surprised us because they were served cold, and then surprised again with citrus from preserved oranges and a chip-like crunch from fried potatoes.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Del Prado has creatively remade Linden Hills in Minneapolis with Martina, Colita, and his pizza-focused Rosalia. The success he had with that Rosalia pizza oven caused him to put one in Wayzata, and also in his new Japanese/Italian restaurant Sanjusan in the North Loop. (The Issac Becker pizza with spicy raw tuna is a nod to his mentor and former boss at Burch Steak.)
Josefina has a terrific and approachable wine list and a very exciting cocktail program with a do-it-yourself martini garnish situation. Just like how we can’t get enough pizza in these towns, we can’t get enough of Danny Del Prado.
739 Lake St. E., Wayzata, 952-208-9568, josefinawayzata.com