Before I start this post, all I can say is I don't know why I had never been to Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar before last week. That place was absolutely amazing!
On a Friday evening, I went with a friend who was in town from LA to Sonoma. It's located on Pennsylvania Avenue SE between 2nd and 3rd Streets. If you're driving by and blink you'd easily miss it.
When you walk up to the building it's evident that it's an old building and has historic DC charm. There is a small area for patio seating in the front that can accommodate about 10 people, since it was brisk we decided to take our chances to wait inside for a seat inside. Once you walk in you're greeted by a huge fully stocked wine bar on one side and a beautiful exposed brick wall on the other. There is also a large staircase that leads to the upstairs more lounge like area. It was reserved for a private party so we didn't have a chance to check it out.
Since it was a Friday night and we didn't have reservations, there was a wait but we found a seat at the bar and enjoyed a glass of wine. The wine list by the glass and bottle were very extensive and offered us many options to enjoy. While we waited, the incredibly friendly hostess walked over to us every 10 minutes to give us an update on the status of our table, which was nice because that never happens.
Once we were seated, we could barely focus on the menu because of the food that was arriving at the table next to us. Everything looked so good, we didn't even know where to begin. Eventually we decided on a few things. For our appetizers we shared an arugula salad with goat cheese, bacon, beets with a bacon vinaigrette and the house-made meatballs in polenta. From the first bite we were in love, not with each other, but with the food. Within a matter of minutes, both plates were empty.
For the main dish he had the Braised Beef Ravioli with potato and mushroom marmalade and I had the North Carolina Shrimp & Grits. The beef in the ravioli was very tender, well seasoned and melted in your mouth. The shrimp, which were more like jumbo prawns, were grilled to perfection with light seasoning and the grits were so smooth and creamy. We polished off both dishes and were pleasantly full. I didn't have room for dessert so I ordered a nice, ice-cold glass of Moscato d'asti, which was by far one of the best I've ever had.
To top things off a group of middle-aged men all dressed in black suits caught our attention. We both speculated they were part of a musical group. Apparently it was one of their birthdays and they sang the most impressive rendition of Happy Birthday that I'd ever heard in my life. They followed up with another song where they harmonized like nobody 's business. I definitely would have paid to hear them sing like that again. I'm sure that isn't a frequent occurrence but it made a wonderful night even better.
Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar is truly a hidden gem and I will be making it my point to make sure more know about it. Nothing is better than attentive service and food that is to die for. Just thinking about it is making me want to make my next reservation.
Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar
223 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20003