Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Belated Sonoma Review

The Sunday of DC Pride we decided to recover from Priding by doing a nice dinner at Sonoma. We've heard the buzz from several places and were curious to see how it stacked up. We went on OpenTable and made a reservation for 8:30.

Our leisurely walk wasn't leisurely enough because we arrived there at 8:10. After alerting the hostess and acknowledging our earliness, we were actually seated promptly. Unfortunately, we were seated promptly in a table directly next to the bar and it would take a Herculean effort to notice us. First, we had to get the attention of the hostess to get our menus. Then it took another 20 minutes to get anyone to take our order. Along with twenty minutes we did have to catch the eye of the hostess AND the manager to send a server. However, it was all uphill once the server came.

One note - Someone at Sonoma must have read our blog because a server came with his pitcher of ice water and asked whether we wanted ICE water or bottled water.

Anyway, our server was obviously tired and our early arrival appeared to throw things off, but she was friendly as attentive. There was a 2Amy's feel to the restaurant with that California casual elegance. Clean oak floors and exposed brick. Going with the 2Amys feel J decided to order two cheeses, a chevre and a Spanish cheese I forget the name of and isn't on the online menu. They came with a delicious wine jelly and focacciaesque bread. I ordered the chicken liver pate (I am a fan of pate and grew up eating pate and brie every other day for breakfast. The days I wasn't eating pate, I was eating my grandmother's fried rice.) which came with the same bread and coarse grain mustard. For our main course we both decided on the Wagyu burger. We figured that the quality of their burger would be a good barometer of the quality of the rest of their menu. This being our NIGHT OUT, we both got glasses of wine. Mine a non-Merlot red and J's a white (I think their Pino Grigio).

We loved the starters. I think a theme of the whole meal was mellow. Rather than sharp flavors that often are associated with wines and cheeses and even mustard, all of those flavors were gentler. Both cheeses had a nice body to them and paired well with wines that went down easily. The obvious 2Amy's comparisons abound and the chevre was wonderful but a tad less flavorful than the gold standard which is the Pipe Dreams goat cheese. The pate was delicious and worked well with the mustard. It had that wonderful earthiness I associated with good pate without a lot of the saltiness. A plus in my book and it compliments the sour-bitter flavor of the mustard.

The burger was absolutely wonderful. We ordered it medium and it was moist and flavorful. It was served with lettuce, grilled onions and roasted peppers. We were both disappointed by the unimaginative roasted potatoes as a side but were thoroughly impressed with the burger. While J pronounced the burgers best in class, I thought they were a sliver (a tiny sliver) lower than the Ugly Mug's mini burgers.


ShinCoveter said...

The potatoes are great. So crispy, crunchy...mmmm.

Did you try the chevre with the wine jelly? Loved that!!! Oh and you should have had the marinated onions or whatever they call them.

We went there on their first day and our burgers were way over cooked, but they ended up giving us our bottles (3) of wine for free. I reasonable trade off I'd say. :)

I think this place will go far.

DC Food Blog said...

We did have thechevre with wine jelly. THAT ROCKED! I didn't know what to called the onions. Other than yummy. :) Damn, could they overcook OUR burgers for three free bottles of wine? I agree. The Hill has been desprate for something like this.

playfulinnc said...

Where is this oasis?? I must go there immediately.

BTW, I know what you're saying about the water choice. I hate to feel upsold...

DC Food Blog said...

It's next to the Trover Shop halfway between 3rd and fourth streets on Penn. Ave SE.