DCFoodies.com Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar - First Impressions - DCFoodies.com

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Jun 21, 2005



Thanks for making your way to Capitol Hill! I've been wondering about this "neighborhood" place, and now will definitely try it.


Thanks for the notes...

I'm a Cap Hill local and have been in a few times with generally positive experiences.

I am confused by a few of your comments: 1) you only tried one pasta dish - there are several - but say you'll "skip" them next time, 2) you comment on the pizza, but admit you haven't tried it, and 3) how can this place "compete" with Palena which is nowhere nearby?

I really appreciate hearing about what you have - not haven't - tried. I look forward to less speculative reviews....




Did I touch on a sensitive topic Richard? Yes, this "review" was somewhat speculative and I think I was fairly open about that, but you don't always have to order a dish to know what it will taste like. Sorry I didn't give your new favorite hangout a four star writeup.


We tried it on Friday. The wine is overpriced - though we didn't try the bottles of house for $15, but the ravioli and burger were really quite good. Less exciting were the mediocre service and high for Capitol Hill prices.


I really didn't think that the wine was THAT overpriced. I had the same bottle of La Crima Christi del Vesuvio that 2Amys stocks in their bar -- it was about $5 more. You're basically paying for the atmosphere if you know what I mean. I really want to try the burger.


I enjoyed your review of Sonoma and I agree with your first-person account of the restaurant.
It's a welcome addition to Capitol Hill, but it isn't perfect yet. The servers seem very inexperienced, but friendly. The entrees I've had aren't particularly great considering the price. But the restaurant I'm sure is dealing with the kinks and will hopefully work these things out in time. Others may have had different experiences - again that comes with the place not having hit its stride yet (and slammed with customers from Day One). The cheeses and cured meats are excellent and the large selection of decent wines by the glass makes this an excellent hang out spot - and will hopefully be more than that in the near future.


yeah, but doesn't their web site kick ass? www.sonomadc.com ; ) I made it so I'm biased... But I think their food is so good, I had them pay me in food instead of cash. Those guys know how to cook for real.


My husband and I were there for dinner last night and had a very pleasant meal that was not as expensive as I expected it to be. We had a two-cheese platter, the wagyu burger (which was quite good and perfectly medium rare as requested), the duck ragout (good) and the brussel sprouts side (excellent). Not a huge meal but not as pricey as other places where the food is not as good. The service was a little spotty but friendly and the outdoor patio is a bonus.


I was at Sonoma for work-related event last night and ended up being disappointed, which is unfortunate, since I live in the neighbourhood and was looking forward to a new favorite.

I received the menu ahead of time, so I had very high expectations - everything looked absolutely fantastic, I couldn't wait to get there and eat!

As soon as I got there, even though we had a private room reserved (and therefore I'd expect that best waitstaff the place offers), I was disappointed by the staff. We had a young waiter that was quite pedantic in his manner - just plain snotty. I was the only woman in the room, and I felt it (and not in a good way). He was demeaning and talked to me about the wines as though I wouldn't know what he was talking about.

We sat down to the cheese and charcuterie plates, and I must admit those were fantastic. Absolutely perfect (though I agree with the comment about the crumbly bread in your second post - NOT good for spreading cheese).

The arugula salad was fine - nothing to write home about. The Atlantic Char was a little bland and the sweet potatoes served with them were undercooked and also bland.

All in all, not a great experience, though the wine was great (or maybe I just thought it was b/c I drank a lot to overcompensate for the food). The best part of Sonoma? The website and the menu (before you taste it). Unfortunate.


A work-related event might not be the best time to judge a restaurant. You should def. go back, especially since it's in your neighborhood, and try it again. I've heard that they've made drastic improvements in the service and I plan to return again myself.

Scott Monfils

I was wondering if any one had a couple of suggestions for late night dessert tonight around 11 after the theatre? (Ford)



I had a miserable experience at Sonoma's. The staff was so rude to my friend and I. I will never go back there again. I asked the hostess if we could sit at the bar and she answers in a "what do you think" way, of course. THEN we fnd a spot with 2 stools, order our wines from the bartender who couldn't really be bothered with us and didn't even tell us which wine was which (we ordered different wines). Then my friend and I were kicked out of our bar spot by that some nasty hostess because apparently bar spots are reserved there. Reserving corner bar stools???? Overall it was a really horrible experience, and one that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.


I live one block away from Sonoma and have been about 7 or 8 times. I agree with the original review. Order the cheese platter and venison carpaccio. The smoky goat cheese was very good. They really need St. Marcellin or another aged goat. I think they did carry an aged Manchego-like sheep cheese that was nice. Wine is overpriced, so buy the inexpensive selection by the glass - it's still decent.

Don't try going for dinner unless you have a reservation. Mon-Tues-Weds weeknights upstairs are the best times to avoid crowds - unless it's booked for a private party.

For the 30-something Cap Hill sophisticate, Sonoma, Montmartre and Belga Cafe are the only walking-distance options for Southeast-DC elegant ambience. I'll suffer through the overpriced food/drinks for pretty surroundings.

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