As part of my quest to visit all of the establishments that are part of the local Independent Restaurant Collaborative (earlier post here), I recently had the pleasure of dining at Sonoma in Princeton. Okay, I guess “recently” isn’t the best choice of words, as I went on Valentine’s Day and was only reminded to write this long overdue post because I just made reservations for a return visit. Time is flying by this year!
My experience at Sonoma was truly outstanding. Because my visit occurred on a popular restaurant holiday, I was prepared for the rushed service and drastically abbreviated menus to which I’m accustomed from past Valentine’s Day dinners at other establishments. I was thrilled to encounter just the opposite at Sonoma. Our server encouraged us to linger as long as we wanted, and we were presented with a lengthy specials menu in addition to the regular menu. My husband and I sipped complimentary glasses of champagne as we took in the pleasant, understated décor and the faint sound of an unobtrusive live string musician meandering around the two dining rooms.
Throughout our visit, we enjoyed friendly, knowledgeable, attentive (but not overly attentive!) service that is so difficult to find these days. Yet to be perfectly honest, we could have had the rudest server in the world and we would still be returning to Sonoma – the food is that amazing! It was nearly impossible to select only one of the many tempting menu options, though I suspect any of the choices would have been good ones. Having just spent time in the region earlier this winter, I was particularly drawn to the Mediterranean influences evident in many of the dishes. The wine list was quite good and offered numerous higher end choices, as well as several wines by the glass.
My chosen appetizer, the sautéed medallion of goat cheese and watercress, proved to be literally one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten anywhere, ever. My husband was also quite impressed with his portobello and Crystal Brook Farm goat cheese tart. (Can you tell we’re big fans of Crystal Brook Farm goat cheese?) The grilled free-range chicken breast entrée, served over whole wheat pasta and fresh vegetables, was incredibly flavorful. All portion sizes were generous, but the prime rib special my husband selected was the most astounding – it was several inches thick and generated enough leftovers for two additional full meals. The only negative aspect of our entire visit was that we had no room left for dessert!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, the servers presented each woman with a long-stemmed rose at the conclusion of her meal. It was a nice final touch to end a perfect dining experience, and I can’t wait to return to Sonoma.
Labels: Places to eat/Restaurant reviews