30 September 2010

The Grub: Sonoma Mediterranean

A few weeks ago, ThirtyDuo asked me to dog sit while she was on vacation.  So everyday for a week I drove down Madison, passed the former Kona Bistro to get to her house.  I noticed that a Mediterranean restaurant would be opening in place of Kona.  What?!  A vacant location that is not going to be populated by Thai/Sushi/Asian in the Oakley/Hyde Park area?! UNBELIEVABLE! Don't get me wrong, I love love love Sushi (as you know) and all other works of Thai and Asian cuisine.  But c'mon, I can think of 7 without even trying within a 3 mile radius of Rookwood Commons.. no, I forgot one, 8.

When I got home, I hopped on the web to bing it.  Low and behold.  No website to be found (this fact is still true to this day- they should get on it)  But luckily Polly Campbell of the Enquirer posted some quick facts about the happenings on Madison.

So, as I drove by last week I noticed something different: A "We're Open!" sign!  Immediately Sonoma was on my list of places to check out.  After a grueling evening of shopping in Rookwood, my friend Heather and I headed over to Sonoma to check it out.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of the outside of the restaurant, but its right next to Dewey's Pizza.

First impression: Mm, nice...  The decor was basic, and modern, clean lines and simple tables.  As you walk in, there is no way you are missing the fact that they have a full bar.  It is right in front of you.  We were given a booth right next to the floor to ceiling windows (which I like, I'm a people watcher by default).  And menus were presented.  Lots of variety there: Sonoma is Mediterranean and American, so appetizers included everything from hummus to potato skins.  

We were asked for a drink order, but offered no wine/bar menu.  Odd.  I stuck with water.  I would have liked to know what was available though.

First out was oil and herbs for dipping pita bread.  I much prefer this to traditional rolls because it doesn't fill you up before your meal.  We were not given little plates though, so Heather and I sort of had to lean over the oil to not drip.  A small inconvenience.  

To eat I went with the Kefta minis with a Greek salad to start.  Heather ordered a dinner portion Greek salad.

The salad was good.  Not out of this world or anything, but the greens were green and the veggies were crisp.  Thats about all I look for in a salad.  One thing I especially appreciated was the dressing.  It wasn't too heavy or over powering.  Some Greek dressings tend to be too much for me, but this one was light and delicious.

Next came the Kefta minis.  Mentally: "Greek Sliders"
Red onion, tomato, garlic mayo, and one other something that escapes me right now.  The plate looks very plain, but blame that on me.  I was given a side and I chose the salad.  These were so, so good.  They would have been even better with a little feta, but I really enjoyed them.  The meat was juicy, the buns were toasted perfectly, everything was good.  My only wish: bigger toppings.  The tomato was cut so small that I didn't get it in every bite (and I love tomato)  Other than that, very yummy.

Our waitress was pleasant.  She was attentive but not in an annoying way.  I don't like to be bothered frequently, especially when I am getting to catch up with a girlfriend, so she judged our attention needs appropriately.  

Over all, I really enjoyed Sonoma.  I want to go back when I can handle a bigger meal and try one of the numerous kebab options.  There were several, but I just wasn't hungry enough.  I also want to go back for the hummus.  My meal filled me up and I had leftovers.  Heather and I each spent under $10, not including tip.  Perfect price for a tasty, light meal.  I will definitely go back.

Grade? About a B.  I played it safe with my choices so I knew I wouldn't be disappointed, and there are a few logistical issues the staff need to work out (app plates, drink menu, website!!).  But, I would recommend it to a friend.  

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