Sarah Connell is live from this evening’s exclusive chef’s dinner at Sonoma located at Beechwood Hotel in Worcester, MA.
Posted by Mass Foodies on Thursday, November 2, 2017
Sonoma’s official grand opening in Worcester is slated for next week, but Mass Foodies stopped by a few days early for an admirable preview.
Sonoma, formerly of Princeton – now of the Beechwood Hotel – managed to retain all of its staff as well as that of the previous tenant, Ceres Bistro. The space itself looks largely unchanged, preserving a sense of social inspiration by virtue of highly captivating aesthetics. The bar is still aglow. The stained glass rotunda still serves as a dining room centerpiece. The sunsets are still just as striking on the patio as they’ve ever been. But, the menu looks a little bit different. Given the precision and expertise of Chef and Owner Bill Brady, we’re certain that 363 Plantation Street is about to see a whole new side of Sonoma.
Sonoma has built a reputation on its wine selection; during our visit, we asked our veteran server for some guidance. I wanted something “big, deep, and red,” and found what I was searching for in the Provenance, Rutherford Cabernet ($18). My date asked for a tannic wine to “grip the tongue” and arrived at the 2014/2016 Elsa Bianchi Malbec ($9).
Appetizer options included a very diverse selection, ranging from the Mediterranean Meze Platter ($14) to the Peppercorn Crusted Loin of Ostrich ($18). There was a distinct Asian influence that accounted for dishes like Kung Pao Cauliflower ($9) and Ahi Tuna Sashimi ($14). We began accordingly with Chicken and Foie Gras Dim Sum Dumplings ($14) served in a Sauternes Shiitake broth with Sriracha ponzu. The combination of decadent Foie Gras and rich, floral Sauternes played on a classic pairing. We found our four dumplings expertly steamed and indulgently bathed in a nourishing broth.
Entrees ranged in price from an $18 pasta dish to a $44 Prime Rack of Colorado Lamb Persillade. I opted for the Grilled Breast of Duckling ($30) and my date ordered the Boneless Korean Short Rib of Beef ($32). My duck was cooked to succulent perfection and served with a maple demi-glace, sweet potato puree, and spinach. The short rib was browned and juicy with a charred exterior rendering bite after pleasing bite. It was accompanied by sake-braised bok choy, jasmine rice, and miso aioli. We finished our meal with a coconut shell packed full of refreshing sorbet ($5).
Sonoma will, without a doubt, draw regulars from Princeton, welcome hotel guests to Worcester, and attract a traditional city crowd for special-occasion-dining opportunities. We feel confident that this is only the first in a long line of memorable visits by Mass Foodies.