June 21, 2008 6

Sona (West Hollywood)

By in 09: Weho, Food: Los Angeles

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

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6 Responses to “Sona (West Hollywood)”

  1. seat says:

    The first few dishes really look/sound Japanese! Those pink flowers decoration! The portion size is also very Japanese – three tiny slices of meat as main dish…..Is the chef in fact Japanese? ^^;;;
    Squid ink and olive macaron!! Wow. Can’t imagine how they will taste.
    Is it dinner? The photos look bright at the beginning but dark towards the end.

  2. matt says:

    great review and good photos. weird how it went from japanese fusion to the real michelin type food towards the end. $89 for 6 courses doesn’t sound that bad, how much did it come to in the end?

  3. Freda says:

    Yeah, even though the executive chef/owner is called David Myers, the “chef de cuisine” is called Kuniko Yagi…so the chef is Japanese. It’s a 3 hours dinner..^^;; start from 6 (still have daylight) till 9-ish. I can’t imagine those 9-12 courses dinner…my friend had one that lasted 6 hours (6-12!)

    Thanks matt~ Actually I think it was $98…I can’t be sure but with wine, $10 extra charge for the salmon, etc….it was about $120 per person (not including tips). So it was ouchy. The website listed $68 for 6 courses, so that’s why I was surprised when they told us it’s $98 (or 89…I can’t remember) at the beginning.

  4. valentine says:

    ohhh, I get it, the chef is Japanese…
    the Scallop Sushi looks like Japanese snow-bunnies (*^o^*)

    I was wondering why the macaron is Japanese-size…
    Aren’t French/western macarons about the size of your face!?
    (okay I’m exaggerating (-ω-)ノ”)
    Plus I heard authentic French macarons are Super sweet tasting
    but squid ink?
    are they accepted in the U.S.?

  5. Moi says:

    Goodness… How were you able to afford ANY of that?

    I like the dessert.

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