Saturday, July 12, 2008

So, so, so good at Sona

Brent and I celebrated my 31st birthday at Sona, one of LA's most upscale restaurants. I wasn't familiar with it, but Brent said he'd been hoping to try it since it opened years ago. Seeing as he and I have similar tastes, I was all for it.

Before I take you through our culinary adventures, be forewarned that this is going to be a long, gluttonous post. You may want to undo your belt buckle a couple notches by the time you're done. You can click on any photo for larger versions of the tasty goodness.

We started with some delicious bread - a soft tea bread and a tomato bread with funky spikes. I said it looked like an evil donut. This was followed by a liquid watermelon amuse bouche with melon.
Tea bread, tomato bread Watermelon amuse bouche

Brent and I decided on the 9-course tasting menu. Yup, I said NINE. Brent was gung-ho about it and I was ready to go along for the ride. Keep in mind that the portions are generally small, but nine definitely added up.

Instead of choosing from a set tasting menu, our waiter simply asked us if we had any dietary restrictions/preferences. After explaining that my pregnancy didn't allow for raw meats/fish, certain fish high in mercury and unpasteurized cheeses, they assured us that they'd have no issues coming up with a fabulous menu. And apparently Brent was already conscious of this and had called the restaurant to ask them about accommodating his pregnant wife's inability to eat tile fish (because it's so high in mercury), which he had seen on the online menu. So sweet!

This tasting menu was also different from others I've had in that for most courses they brought out "tandem" foods to allow us to taste a larger variety of the menu. Many of the courses we'd each eat half and then switch.

Course 1: Sashimi for Brent, organic heirloom tomato salad with sherry vinaigrette for me. (Obviously no dish-swapping here.)
Course 1 Course 1

Course 2: I had the crispy sweetbreads, corn puree, mushrooms while Brent had lobster ravioli with burrata cheese.
Course 2 Course 2

Course 3: I was served the bass while Brent got the halibut.
Course 3 Course 3

Course 4: Pork with green bean salad and blood sausage. Then duck with mushrooms (sorry about the blurry photo on that one).
Course 4 Course 4

Course 5: Venison with tomato confit. Tenderloin with mushrooms.
Course 5 Course 5

Course 6: Before this arrived, I was already bursting at the seams. My pregnant belly doesn't allow for as much food as it used to. But this was reported to be one of the highlights of the meal, so we were excited. We were both served wagyu beef, which is also known as kobe beef. Basically, you can't get better beef than this. And it was pretty fan-freakin-tastic! Rich and buttery and tender and... well, I think Brent would leave me if someone offered enough of this beef in return.
Course 6

Cheese plate: This doesn't even count as one of the nine courses! (Is your stomach exploding yet?) From left to right we had French, Swiss and Italian cheeses, with delicious sides paired perfectly.
Cheese plate

Course 7: We both had lime ice with berries in spun sugar and lavender. Em Dash went crazy-go-nuts kicking after I had the super-strong lime ice. It was only a bite's worth, but enough to get her going.
Course 7

Course 8: The first is an ice cream over a reduced Coke syrup. And I swear to you, I think they threw some Pop Rocks (or very Pop Rock-like) on top. Apparently they'd never heard that urban legend about Pop Rocks and soda. Heh. But we didn't care - we ate it anyway! The other dish was a corn ice cream with corn kernels. Seriously. And it wasn't bad, actually! Corn is naturally a bit sweet, so it's not that far of a stretch if you're adventurous.
Course 8 Course 8

Course 9: Chocolate donut with smoked ice cream. The second dish, from left to right, something with apricot paper, chocolate with sesame cracker, miso ice cream, pureed apricot. The chocolate donut was our least favorite item of the entire meal. It wasn't sweet at all and it was more like a bad flourless chocolate cake than a donut.
Course 9 Course 9

Just when I thought we were done and I was ready to be rolled out the door like Violet in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, they surprised me with these assorted mini treats in honor of my birthday. Somehow we made room for them - they were soooo worth it.
Special treat

But THEN a waitress with an evil giggle plopped down this huge basket of mini-madeleines. She said, "I couldn't resist! I heard it was your birthday!" Brent laughed and said to her, "Are you freakin' kidding me?!?!?!" We ate a couple and then had to ask for them to be wrapped up. They were just as yummy for breakfast this morning.
MORE special treats!

In addition to the tasty meal above, we were quite impressed with the service at Sona. They had very choreographed methods to put down and pick up our dishes. I joked that it was like Noah's Arc because they all traveled in pairs. Our waiter happily answered all our questions about the dishes, especially the beef, even down to the type of lemon they gave Brent for his water. Each dish was carefully explained to us when presented, and they were able to easily accommodate my pregnancy guidelines. Nearly four hours later, we were happily stuffed.

We obviously don't splurge like this on meals very often, but as Brent pointed out, we were a bit backlogged on some other celebratory occasions - like his somewhat recent new job, our pregnancy, etc. And that rare dining experience was definitely worth it!

"How can I describe it? Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it." - Gusteau, Ratatouille


  1. I want! I want! I want!

    I can't decide -- Providence, Sona, or Melisse for our anniversary? What say you?

  2. This post is an evil, evil thing to do to a girl on a diet! It all looks so good, my icky nutrasystem meal is just not cutting it.

    I'm so glad you had a good birthday! And even though it's such a cliche, it's good to spend money on yourselves now because when Em Dash arrives you won't have the time - and you'll feel guilty!

  3. I'd like to Go! But, I do have one question....How many WW Points would you say that was? I only get 19 A Day.


  4. oh yum. still wanting to do one of the tasting menus the monkey mentioned above, but eh, we'll have to wait a few years it seems.

    that wagyu's marbling made me drool so much i've gotta go dry out this keyboard.

  5. I've been wanting to try Sona for ages now. Looks incredible!

  6. Mignardise - always best part of the meal if you ask me, ha! Everything looks great! The Waygu at Wolfgang's Cut is out of this world too, as is the service. Service makes SUCH a difference.

  7. what a wonderful birthday. the food looks fantastic and i'm all about the nine courses lol

  8. That meal looks heavenly!

  9. great post, I'm glad you had a great birthday dinner! Looks like the tasting menu was the way to go, and it's nice to feel pampered. The birthday dessert tray is the coolest!

  10. Wow- corn ice cream? I live in Iowa and I don't think I've ever heard of that! It all looks fantastic and I'm glad you had such a wonderful birthday dinner.

  11. Mmm, I am salivating! Each dish is like a work of art. Glad to hear you had a great b-day : ) ~ AN

  12. Simply marvelous. So happy for you that you got to celebrate your b-day in such a decadent way. Yay for thoughtful husbands.

  13. okay that all looks delicious and i'm just full looking at it, yummmm.

    glad you had a fabulous birthday :)

  14. Wow! Look at you guys with your fancy eats. :) Sounds, and looks, lovely. I've never had a tasting menu of any kind but you are definitely pushing me in that direction. Great way to celebrate your birthday.

  15. Yummm. This is like heaven.

  16. oh, that wagyu beef. i'm salivating right now.

    love the evil donut!

    happy belated birthday :)

  17. that tasting menu sounds so spectacular! looks like sona is going on our must-try list!

    glad you guys had such a great time :)

  18. I'm totally late...Happy Belated Birthday! Sounds like you had a great celebration! Those desserts currently have my mouth watering!! I'm a sucker for donuts!