The best restaurants use the best ingredients and then stay out of the way. That is very much how the kitchen at Sonoma Cellar does business. From a shishito pepper appetizer (decidedly not a steakhouse staple) which is very simply, but to great effect, fried and salted, to the fish offerings which can be done grilled, poached, or meuniere, this place chooses to accentuate the flavors of the main part of a dish rather than drown them out. They have two dry aged steak options, both bone-in, a rib-eye and a New York. These are both marinated in such a way that brings out the beefiness and doesn't overpower the beauty of the dry-aged meat.
In the interest of full disclosure, Executive Chef Schuyler Schultz is a friend of mine, but I only admit to that, or even allow him to be called such, because he is an outstanding chef (I only hope I am deserving of the same moniker with him). So, on my visit for my birthday dinner there were a few off the menu treats including an amuse of marcona almond "soup" which only needed a bigger spoon, and some tempura asparagus which, in the chefs own estimation, weren't as good as at Raku but were still very good, although I did feel that the spears were unevenly tossed in their post-frying seasoning.
I will be returning on February 12th for a special beer paired dinner. It's open to the public and the menu and more info can be found here. Hope to see you all there.
Brian William Waddell is a foodie, beer geek, and author. His numerous blog posts range from food to politics. He also has a book of poetry, Fractured Prose, available here, and is ready to publish his second poetic endeavor.