Copycat

Check out the wine program at Sonoma, but you should probably eat before you go

This stuff mostly pretends. It's dangerous to flaunt "sushi grade" on a menu if your fin meat doesn't adequately meet the considerable challenges of serving a raw fish. The meat in the red curry-seared sushi-grade tuna with a wasabi soy sauce and fresh chive soy risotto was crumbly and dry; it separated into sections as if it were a slice of parched corned beef. It was also hard to pick out any wasabi, even though the green stuff was conspicuously listed on the menu.

In addition to flavor befuddlement, Sonoma also is a bit behind with its architecture. Tall food slipped from the gustatory radar screen years ago (so did leisure suits). Yet here it rears its heady spire. Two fresh mint-leaf-rubbed lamb chops were pressed together like a lean-to. And out of this structure of slants rose a long, twisted tortilla spike, a kind of maize drill bit. The lamb meat itself was timid in flavor and a little gooey and spongy--no structure other than the bone. This setup was anchored on a potato cake, a coarse, crumbly disc with weak adhesion and even weaker flavor.

Borrowing a little grape dirt romance, the wine country paella struggled with undercooked saffron risotto embedded with large but mostly tasteless shrimp, tough flavor-impaired mussels, juicy chicken, robust sausage and roma tomatoes and peas.

California dreamin': The tasteful décor at Sonoma is matched by the wine program--but the food, well...
Stephen Karlisch
California dreamin': The tasteful décor at Sonoma is matched by the wine program--but the food, well...
California dreamin': The tasteful décor at Sonoma is matched by the wine program--but the food, well...
Stephen Karlisch
California dreamin': The tasteful décor at Sonoma is matched by the wine program--but the food, well...

Location Info

Map

Sonoma Grill & Wine Bar

380 Parker Square
Lewisville, TX 75028

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Lewisville

Details

972-899-8989. Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday. $$$

Calamari: $7
Chicken soup: $4
Baby spinach salad: $5.50
Caesar salad: $4
Knights Valley pizza: $8
Paella: $17.50
Lamb chops: $21.50
Seared tuna: $19
Grilled swordfish: $18
Fresh berries: $5

380 Parker Square, Flower Mound

Dessert aimed for a simplicity and freshness Alice Waters might wink at. Raspberries, strawberries and blueberries were arranged in a spun-sugar lattice creel. The berries were fresh and plump, but the slightly yellowish cream topping brought the whole structure down. The substance was dense and inelegantly applied with a flavor reminiscent of Cool Whip.

Service was earnest and gracious, if young and inexperienced--the curse of the serious bedroom community dining room. Sonoma Grill is the work of Jan Zwerver, former partner and general manager of Mustang Café in Irving. To craft the cuisine, he enlisted chef Abraham Castillo, who has done time at Chamberlain's, Breadwinners and Popolos.

Yet while burgeoning with potential, Sonoma's grub seems too laden with self-consciousness, to the extent that the attempts at California mimicry become clumsy instead of seamless. The food should follow the wine program: Get the right shape and the right pour, and let the natural ingredients shine through.

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