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Monday, November 15, 2010

The Sonoma Grille (Giveaway)

Yves Carreau, award recipient of The Restaurateur of the Year award, has really hit a home run with The Sonoma Grille located downtown Pittsburgh at 946 Penn avenue. Last week Malik and I had the opportunuty to sit down and sample some of the best food that I have had the pleasure of enjoying in long time. Not a stranger to the Pittsburgh restaurant scene, I have very discriminating tastes when it comes to food and wine. Thankfully the Sonoma Grille did not disappoint.

When we arrived I was instantly pleased and set at ease by the inviting decor of The Sonoma Grille. A West Coast kitchen and wine bar indeed! The bar is large, the back wall of the bar is actually a 20ft. wine case which houses a collection of over 1,000 bottles of wine. Quit impressive. We waited for a half hour, I was not happy. Fortunately, Randy Wright the General Manger came to greet us, then invited us to our seats, and prepared us for a five course tasting of some of the stand out items on the menu. Our servers Barb and Eddie were very knowledgeable and quit pleasant, which added to an exceptional dining experience. Allow me to expound...

The Food: Executive Chef Andrew Hebson makes sure that Sonoma’s fare is a melting pot of international cuisine, wrapped with a California twist. Each dish highlights local, organic or sustainable food, each utilized at the peak of their season. Each dish accentuates the purity of the ingredients and is served with complementing preparations and pairings. Some of my favorites include the wild mushroom/pesto/goat cheese flat bread, the organic salmon, which is done to perfection, and my absolute top choice, the Char Su duck w/sticky rice. For dessert, the gianduja tartlette with hazelnut butter and chocolate ganache was surprisingly tasty as it was pared with a nice 20yr Tawny Port.

The Wine: Sonoma Grille has over 1,000 bottles of wine for serving, and hundreds of those are served by the glass. The W H Smith Pinot Noir was the lightest and fruitiest Noir I have tasted, and paired well with the beet salad w/honeyed beets and micro arugula.

There are many great wines to choose from to pair with any dish. I didn't try any cocktails, but a lovely woman out with her family enjoying The Sonoma Grille for the first time, informed me that her martini was "exquisite".

May I suggest ordering from the tasting menu if you are going to The Sonoma Grille for the first time either alone or with a group, and you are not sure what to order. Be sure to sample wines. Ask your server if you are unsure about which wines would be best with your meal choice.

The Sonoma Grille is most certainly one of great Pittsburgh restaurants that I will be returning to, and also recommending to anyone who wants to know where to have great food, great wine, and have a great dinning experience. The fact that Sonoma uses local, in season, and organic food that is "farm to plate" is enough to get me in the door, the fact that the food tastes awesome is enough to keep me coming back!

Want to try it for yourself? My friends at The Sonoma Grille have offered one $25 gift card to a lucky SpotlightPittsburgh reader. All you have to do is comment to this post below, and tell us what your favorite wine is and why it is your favorite, and we will choose the reader with the most interesting answer. Thats all you have to do! Be sure to leave your email address so that you can be contacted about your prize! Good luck!


  1. excellent review.! I feel the need to make a visit to this establishment immediately.

  2. This review has certainly peaked my interest. I love people who are daring enough to test out items/places/foods before I do, this way I save money if per chance I do not care for the new thing.

    I don't care for wine so much but if I had to choose one I would pick something in the red family. In my experience whites wines have always tasted too sweet for me. I prefer a more bitter or tart taste.

  3. Thanks for dishing the scoop...I'm familiar with Sonoma Grille but I've never been there before. I didn't know that they had such an extensive wine selection. I prefer white wines but recently I've grown to appreciate red wine more. My favorite white wine is's slightly sweet, light, aromatic, and it complements a wide variety of foods. Depending on the brand, some can be sweeter than others...Barefoot makes a pretty good Riesling. ~Way

  4. Sonoma is a favorite of mine!! :) I usually pick something a little sweeter. I have had the opportunity to enjoy their West Coast Wine Flight and all picks were wonderful!!

  5. I absolutely love Sonoma! Their staff is fabulous and wine is great! I enjoy their California White Wine Flight.