Sonoma

I don’t know what was keeping me away from this place for so long. It used to be part of the regular rotation but somehow fell out of favor (probably because it’s impossible to find parking). It has been at least three years since I’ve set foot inside Sonoma, and it wasn’t our first choice for dinner–Stanton & Greene was weirdly, inexplicably closed–so I feel like I’m approaching it as if for the first time.

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Surprisingly, even without reservations at 7:30 p.m. on a Friday, there were tables available. Why? How? We were seated immediately and saddled with the wine menu. They don’t have a huge bottle list, but our server knew what he was doing. When my husband asked for a recommendation, he knew exactly what to say. I won’t pretend to know anything about wine. I can’t even remember what style my husband got. It was red. I got a rose because I am a classy, cultured lady who drinks pink wine. No complaints here, but again, consider your source.

We decided to order small plates and after a lot of back and forth about the relative healthfulness of various options, we decided to just throw caution to the wind and eat as badly as possible. So, baked camembert then:

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This was not your lazy aunt’s cheese wrapped in Pillsbury puff pastry, I’ll tell you that. In fact, they somehow managed to roast this mini wheel of creamy goodness without any kind of casing. It was a perfect size for two people to share, too. The onions on top could have been more caramelized but the sweetness of fruit, tartness of the balsamic, and melty om-nom-ness of the cheese was beyond.

Then we got a “small” order of meatballs. If small means there are four meatballs, I don’t know what the large size is. I also don’t know how they made meatballs out of goddamn clouds. How are these so delicious? This was the most unexpected dish of the night. Yum. Just yum. Picture is not a good representation. There are, in fact, meatballs under what appears to be a salad.

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In continuation of our date night and pre-hiking diet-unconsciousness, we got the lamb tagliatelle. For this, I will use an adjective I’ve never used before: succulent. Spicy, meaty, delicious, and succulent. A perfect blend of tomatoes and cinnamon. Chewy homemade pasta. This pasta was great, but no match for meatballs. If only there were some way to put the two together…

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Price: $60 per person.

Bottom line: Sonoma is not for every day, purely based on price. We left satisfied but not over-stuffed, and the service was pleasantly slow but still attentive. I won’t let three more years go by before coming back.

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