Barbra Brady

LaSalette: The Beginning of a Beautiful European Evening in Sonoma

In Restaurant Reviews on February 8, 2011 at 9:45 pm

LaSalette, Sonoma, California

Outdoor dining at LaSalette

It is never a stretch to imagine that you are somewhere Mediterranean when you are in fact in Sonoma, California. You are in the alluring magic of wine country, of course, but there is far more to anoint your imagination than vino and vines. There are fruit orchards, olive trees (and oil pressings), cobblestones, quaint shops, immaculate weather, and LaSalette Restaurant. (Do have a peek at their slideshow).

LaSalette happens to have been my first restaurant experience when I visited Sonoma in September, 2006 to consider a job as manager at Yoga Community. Set just off Sonoma’s town square (the Plaza) in the epitome of a courtyard, LaSalette in and of itself played into my decision to accept the job. (Yes, I know, I know). It doesn’t hurt a bit that it is just around the corner from one of Sonoma’s most exquisite places to sit on the Plaza for a glass of wine, Centre de Vine.

My recent visit was at the beginning of a lovely “evening in Paris,” courtesy of my guest and I stepping a few doors away after dinner for an amazement of a musical evening. The historic Sebastiani Theatre was hosting Rue Manouche, a breathtaking San Francisco Gypsy Jazz combo. The show was flawless, and in case you’ve yet to gather I love LaSalette, so was our meal.

The weather, another flawless offering of the evening, rendered “Inside or out?” a non-decision. We were eased right to our table for two by one of the (sorry) flawless staff. Amuse bouche appeared just as we selected our wine, and were considering reading the menu (it was a romantic date, so bothering to read a menu was not foremost on our minds). Come Sundays in winter LaSalette conjures up an insanely fragrant traditional Portuguese one-pot meal, sopas. Forget spoonable, this elixir is swoonable. Sopas are one of the reasons I moved back to Sonoma in early 2010 (after an unfortunate mis-step of moving away from this dreamboat of a town).

My companion, The Perfect Man, had a perfectly prepared Portuguese “whole fish,” and we shared flaky cod cakes and Dungeness Crab Corn Chowder. All delectable. Flavors and fragrancies of our meal and wine lent themselves well into the creation of a night to remember. Pretty much all of my meals at LaSalette have been so. The seating is comfortable, cozy, and private enough, but be sure to sit at the small bar by the wood-fired oven (most of all the cooking happens in this alchemical cavern) and chat with the chef sometime. You’ll be right at home-cooking.

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  1. Nice piece. Can’t get there this week (hahaha) but one day… in the mean time that’s a great line, ‘Forget spoonable, this elixir is swoonable.’

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