Thursday, September 3, 2009

eighteen dishes, nine courses, three hours, one happy me

Last night my husband and I stepped up our culinary prowess. I love a well cooked, beautifully presented meal. I love learning about new ingredients and finding new ways to use old standards. I love a fancy meal in a fancy restaurant. And I love, love, love a digustation menu. If the chef thinks its his/her best work, then I want to taste it.
Bring it on
We had a wonderfully relaxing and enjoyable dinner at Sona. The Chef, David Meyers, is very accomplished with numerous awards and accolades, and an impressive resume. His plates are a real work of art....and I felt that most of them were sheer brillance.
Along with the food, our beverage of choice was wine. We opted for the wine pairing menu, to match our food selection. I am not a great oenophile.I know what I like, and I know what I don't like. I can't tell a good pairing, but I can suss out a great pairing and and poor pairing. I like the professionals to do the legwork for me.

Our first sommelier (they appear to have several on staff) was adorable. He was charming in a sort of awkward way. I asked for light pours, waste not want not, and he was very conscious to ensure i had enough for my course, but no more. Our second sommelier was dead to conversation, humor or personality. No back story, no charm, no nothin'...just here's your wine...
...a bit of a bummer, but his wine choices were good...and one of them was absolutely great. He paired a tokaji with a sublime offering of olive oil parfait with jammy kumquat. When I tell you it was perfection, know that I am a tough was perfection. I intend on creating my own version of this wonderful dessert and will keep you posted on the results.
Although we were each treated to 9 courses, we were eating different menus. This gave Mike and I an opportunity to try everything on the menu. We swapped dishes--most of the time...
Like my new favorite show Top Chef Masters, I am going to run down the menu and give each a star rating...
0 to 5 stars
9 Course Spontanee
poached shrimp vietnamese roll with tempura quail egg 3 1/2 stars
course no. 1
marinated big eye tuna w/smoked eggplant puree, and pickled beets 3 1/2 stars
heirloom tomato salad with cilantro puree 1 1/2 stars
course no. 2
braised pork belly w/chino farm corn soup 4 stars
diver scallop w/red plum, muzuku seaweed and potato chip 3 1/2 stars
The scallop was cooked perfectly, but the seaweed was a bit strange in the mouth
course no.3
alaskan halibut w/pickled lima beans & braised shitake mushroom 2 1/2 stars
fish was a bit dry and a little boring...lima beans were amazing
sake-harissa marinated black cod w/roasted cipollini & sunchoke puree 5 stars
perhaps the best thing I ate--unexpected and delicious
course no. 4
seared foie gras w/siberian roll, strawberry vinaigrette and burnt milk ice cream 4 1/2 stars
i have to be honest was delicious, but a if I can look a gift horse in the mouth, it was a bit too big of a portion--i felt bad leaving some on my plate, but i didn't want to have a gallbladder attack before the meal was completed
course no. 5
kasuzuke duck w/braised shitake mushrooms and artichoke puree 4 1/2 stars
one of mike's favorites--he could have eaten an entree portion of this
poussin w/celery root puree, and crispy artichokes 3 1/2 stars
My piece was undercooked--kinda freaked me out and felt a bit over seasoned. Mike loved his
course no. 6
marinated venison w/fennel apple pudding, apple caramel and roasted fennel 4 stars
sonoma summer lamb w/madrus curried carrot risotto 4 stars
palate cleanser
red plum sorbet with watermelon, licorice toffee and lime gelee 3 1/2 stars
when the 'food caller' told us what this was we thought he said red clam sorbet, so we were pleasantly surprised to find it not fishy
course no. 7
miso custard w/hearts of palm, coconut sponge, vanilla curry ice cream 3 stars
overworked and a disappointment. the custard was good and so was the ice cream
black sesame sponge with black sesame praline, lemongrass and passion fruit sorbet 2 stars
see above--again frozen aspects are good
course no. 8
olive oil parfait with kumquat and coriander flower 5 stars
course no. 9
ivorie ganache w caramelized white chocolate, potato chip praline ice cream 1 star
the ice cream was disgusting ruined the entire dish for me
caramelized white chocolate with apricot, chocolate and tobacco ice cream 4 stars
this was adorable such a beautiful presentation. my favorite was the marzipan diguised as a cherry. adorable and tasty

Would I go back to Sona? In a word, yes. I am anxious to try entree portions of some of the tastes we enjoyed. I also appreciated the atmosphere and subtle decoration. This restaurant is not inexpensive and with the wine pairing, it will hurt the purse a bit. But it is a treat, and if you have a special occasion or a budget to allow, i suggest giving it a try.


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