A Taste of Sonoma Grille
Sonoma County's own Sonoma Grille has been open since 2015, but newcomers can be forgiven for missing the quaint spot set quietly on Main Street near Hwy. 12. The white stucco and tile roof building is unassuming, and the sign is hung low right above the windows, so you kinda need to look twice to see it.
But crane your head, stop and step in. It’s owned by Sonoma resident Neema Sherpa (who also owns Himalayan Sherpa Kitchen in St. Helena) and serves very good Mediterranean food in an elegant setting.
If you get past the landscaped patio, you’re doing well, since it’s so easy to settle in here and never leave. Ample shade umbrellas and comfy upscale beach-style chairs invite lingering, as does the outdoor bar. Inside, it feels sort of Mediterranean steakhouse, the dark wood floors and tables brightened by pretty blue wall tile, gold basket lamps and Wine Country landscape portraits. In a really cute touch, there’s a barn area for a servers’ station.
Seafood, homemade pasta and steaks are the signatures here. So to start, our merry band dug into the fresh Dungeness crab cake, pan sautéed until crispy, placed on a bed of tart red cabbage slaw and garnished in a drizzle of sweet chili aioli and bulls blood micro greens ($16.95). We split an order of oysters Rockefeller, because who can resist the classic of six oysters baked bubbly with Parmesan, spinach, and pernod ($21)?
Next, it was on to the spinach ravioli, the homemade pasta pockets stuffed with tender, fresh greens and ricotta served on bright a lemongrass cream sauce ($20), plus homemade saffron pappardelle, wide saffron pasta noodles sautéed with tiger prawns, baby arugula and sun dried tomatoes in a silky, light lobster sauce ($26).
We couldn’t resist another old school winner (to go with our oysters Rockefeller, or course), and indulged in the Surf & Turf ($47). Good choice, we were rewarded with a robust, beefy grilled Angus filet and a half Maine lobster served with sautéed spinach, garlic mashed potatoes, and lots of mouthwatering clarified butter.
This is one of the few local places where you can usually get bouillabaisse, the beautiful, traditional stew is served at dinner, and bobbing with catch of the day, prawns, calamari, clams and mussels in divinely spicy tomato lobster sauce ($28).
Steakhouse classics are on full display, including crème brulee, chocolate torte with caramel sauce and ice cream, tiramisu, and cheesecake in strawberry sauce (all $8). I suggest the dark, rich, steamy warm torte.
You know you want a traditional bar charmer like an Old Fashioned or a Whiskey Ginger, and they make them good and stiff here.
Details: 165 West Napa Street, Sonoma, 707-938-0764, sonomagrilleandbar.com