Like I said in my previous post, finding a nice restaurant in the Hampton Roads area is hard to come across. So much so, my family and I drove 30 minutes to experience the upscale Sonoma Wine Bar & Bistro in Virginia Beach.
Located in the Town Center next to P.F. Chang’s, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Cheesecake Factory and Red Star Tavern this restaurant definitely has some neighborhood competition. But perhaps Sonoma’s 325 wine varieties and 70 by the glass are helping this restaurant stand out from the pack. The wines are lined up behind the bar with taps coming from each bottle. There is also a large fireplace when you enter the restaurant with comfy chairs and low tables. The warm painted walls and toasty feel made me feel as though I was in a Starbucks for a second.
They also get kudos from me for having a facebook account with their relationship status set as “its complicated.” Maybe worth mentioning that according to their page they are also interested in both men and women (woah, easy on the wine Sonoma).
Relationships aside, the food at Sonoma stands out from the surrounding restaurants. We started off with baked jumbo lump crab baked with mozzarella cheese and artichokes.
The baked dip was pretty cheesy and had a surprisingly large amount of crab for the $12 appetizer. There was so much dip that we had to ask for some more bread. A few minutes later our waiter brought over a hot out-of-the-oven baguette.
I also decided to go with the soup special which was pumpkin crab.
My first bite (spoonful? sip?) made me think it was entirely too sweet. But after a few more and with the crab to cut the sweetness I slowly grew accustomed to the cinnamon, pumpkin and crab flavors. Every time I tasted it I was still weary of that overpowering sweetness. On the other hand, the roasted red pepper soup had me coming back for spoonful after spoonful.
For my main course I went with something I usually never get out — chicken. For $20 I got a lightly golden battered chicken rolled with Serrano ham, boursin cheese (if you have never had this cheese do yourself a favor and get some), spinach and basil over top Mediterranean cous cous, cherry tomatoes and dollops of a fire roasted red pepper sauce.
The cous cous reminded be a little bit of risotto with that creamy texture. The chicken was moist and the dish reminded me of a modern twist on cordon bleu. The website for the restaurant says they use only the freshest ingredients for their french dishes. This meal was proof.
And after reading all this you may be wondering why I have yet to mention the wine. Well, I forgot my license back in Yorktown. Rookie mistake?