My friend and I finally tried Sona, a modern French restaurant that earned one star on the LA Michelin guide. I was prepared to be blown away by innovative cooking and exotic ingredients. Their tasting menu came in two variations (I’ll call them A & B in the following review). My friend and I each tried one and we went for the 6 course ($89). The mostly white clinical interior had an air of tranquility that matched their clean delicate dishes.
Delicious tomato bread and earl grey bread. Wow~
The first half of the courses turned out to be more modern Japanese than French. We had sashimi as Amuse Bouche. The 1st Course A is Scallop Sushi, Yuzukosho, Myer Lemon-Dashi Jelly, Shiso Powder. I found the sauce to be too acidic that it overpowered the sweetness of the fresh scallop.
1st Course B: Albacore Sashimi, Ponzu Sheet, Okura, Grated Watermelon Radish, Tofu Puree. The plating was so pretty! The Ponzu sheet was ingenius.
2nd course A: Slow cooked Alaskan Halibut, Ginger Scallion Vinaigrette, Bok Choy, Coconut. The well balanced combination brought out the freshness of the fish. The flavors were subtle and delicate, very nice.
2nd course B: Kasuzuke Wild Salmon, 6 Corn Polenta, Picked Tomato, Fiddle Head Ferns, Kinome. The polenta was too heavy and dominating, especially since salmon meat was creamy in texture. So I found the combination quite redundant. The special salmon cost extra $10 on the final bill.
3rd course A: Pork Roulade, Roasted Garlic Potato Puree, Wild Mushroom, Red Wine-Anise Reduction. Tender, multi-textural and flavorful…very good. It left me craving more.
3rd course B: Smoked Duck Breast, Onion Soubise, Saffron Lime Emulsion, Ricotta Gnocchi, Broccoli Rave. It sounds more fancy than it taste but delicious nonetheless. The duck was well cooked.
4th Course A: Colorado Lamb, Date Puree, Confit of Spring Onion, Lamb Shank Ravioli. The lamb was actually was a bit of a let down…the meat was tough and it tasted more bland than I expected. The date sauce was too expected as well. The lamb shank ravioli is yummy though, wished there were more.
4th Course B: Venison, Artichoke parmesan Puree, Pickled Cherry, Basil. Surprisingly good, better than the lamb. Wonderful gamey flavors with interesting garnish that enhance the dish.
5th Course A: Carrot Cake, Carrot Sorbet, Carrot Tuile. To see carrot cake as pre-dessert dessert was quite a surprise. It was probably the most fancy carrot cake I’d ever had in my life. I was so amused by how the chef utilized the carrot in so much different ways (cake, sorbet, tuile which was salty and VERY rich carrot flavor). What a smooth transition from savory to sweet, genius!
5th Course B: Peanut Butter, Blackberry Gelee Brioche Ice Cream. Less interesting than the carrot cake in the savory vs sweet direction. The two things seems disconnected in both concept and taste as well.
6th Course A: Chocolate Parfait, Apricot Marmalade, Vanilla Gel, Black Truffle Emulsion. A puzzling presentation – the two things were plated at the polar opposite edge of a huge empty round plate (perhaps its other name was “Polar Opposite”). We could smell the truffle before the plate was set down.
6th Course B: Manjari Cream, Mare DeBoise Gelee, Black Olive Powder, Indonesian Long Pepper Ice Cream. It tasted exotic, great savory vs sweet dynamic. Love the the final complimentary candies + tea (I think the savory black macaron was either squid ink or olive, amazing!)
Overall the courses ranged from delightfully delicious to uninspiring. There were only a few surprises (ie: the carrot cake and desserts). Definitely not as experimental as Ortolan, and the first few dishes were too overtly Japanese fusion for me. The portion was small, but everything was refine and interesting enough. Their wine selections was enormous. I had a really good Riesling.
Sona Restaurant (310) 659-7708
401 N La Cienega Blvd West Hollywood, CA 90048