Friday, February 12, 2016

Capitol Hill's SONOMA is a sure bet (2-11-16)

For the first time ever, I completely lost my notes (and pen) heading to the car last night in the freezing cold, so I will try to reconstruct this from memory!
We dined at SONOMA ( at 223 Pennsylvania Ave, NW and it's been well over a decade since I was there last. I recall it was California cuisine but now its very local bistro food with pizzas, pastas and burgers, but Chef John M(sorry I forgot his last name) really know how to improvise as we arrived with a coupon for a tasting menu for 2 and he did it great justice.
Shari, the asst. manager took care of us well, filling our glasses and making us happy on what I feel was our Valentine's Day early date (I hate prix fixe menus on Feb 14th with high costs and crowded spaces!) since we are headed out with the kids and friends this Sunday to one of our local spots (not for kissing).
Shari poured a J. De Telmont Grand Reserve Chardonnay-based Champagne which was dry and tasty, but the slight draft from the cold (and we were far from the door) made me yearn for red wine that had no chill. A gorgeous amuse of Fried Oyster with Bacon jam & Chipotle Sauce arrived and really warmed me up, especially the jammy part that had bacon bits for bursts of flavor.
Next came a glass of Brandborg 2013 Pinot Gris from one of our favorite Oregon wineries we discovered almost 2 years ago while in the Umpqua Valley. I was surprised to see it on th menu as I did not realize they had gotten local distribution in DC!
It was pared with a Squash Risotto which had Crunchy Pumpkin Seeds on top that we loved and a splash of rich Pumpkin Seed Oil for added flavor. The risotto was al dente and won me over instantly, not to mention warmed me up.
The d├ęcor here is unremarkable with exposed brick walls and unfinished ceilings with exposed pipes; it's the food that stars. I saw yummy pizzas, pastas, soups and burgers all over the place and what seemed to be many devoted locals enjoying the atmosphere.
Next came a yummy Rosso di Montalcino paired with a magnificent Tagliatelle with Butter-Poached Lobster in a Lobster Cream Sauce with Basil and Cherry Tomatoes which us oohing and aahing as the chef placed them before us. The lobster was cooked to perfection and the butter so wonderful it dribbled down my chin! The dish was decadently rich and tasty beyond all dreams and the pasta was also beautifully made with love.
Our main course was a 30-day Aged NY Strip Steak (FB foto) with a rich Wine reduction/Marrow/semi-demi-glace that was also superb. Grilled Asparagus were intertwined in the dish and the highlight was the Smashed Sunchokes cooked with cheese (and I forgot to get the recipe!!). A delicious Blue Rock "Baby Blue" 2013 blend from Alexander Valley in California was made up of Cabernet/Cab Franc/Merlot and more and was oh so tasty and jammy; we had big refills on this.
The service here is very attentive and everyone has a smile on for sure which is always nice. We asked for a pause and after enjoying our last red, we were wowed by the dessert that arrived (see FB foto) with Ricotta beignets on Dulce de Leche sauce, homemade vanilla and cherry ice creams and a single cylindrical Red Velvet Cake with bourbon cream cheese and warm chocolate ganache that was out of this world. I usually don't like icing type cakes or cream cheese frostings, but this was to die for. Sam adores Red Devil, so we brought home half of the yummy treat for him! Indeed everything on the plate was divine, especially the beignets and cherry ice cream loaded with yummy cherries.
I am sorry to say I can't recall the amazingly yummy dessert wine.....apologies.
We left very happy feeling that this haul to Capitol Hill was oh so worth the trek!