Restaurants & Bars 1

La Salette (Sonoma)

nooodles | Mar 21, 2006 10:45 AM

Thought I'd add my comments, given the slew of Sonoma questions lately.

La Salette serves contemporary Portuguese cuisine. Food was fine: $14 got a soup of salad and one of eight lunch special choices. A good number of our group got the bihana, a sandwich with either pork slices or linguica.

My friend and I shared Dungness crab crepes off the appetizer menu and a seafood risotto and duck soup off the lunch specials menu. The crepes were fine, but the tiny pieces of chopped up raw bell peppers reminded me of airplane food. I found it incredibly distracting and not at all harmonious with the rest of the dish. The grapes didn't really blend in either. I dislike when restaurants add colorful things to make a dish pretty without considering whether it improves the flavor. The crab meat was tasty and there wasn't any cheap filling taking up space inside the crepes, so the crepes would have been great had they just left off the grapes and bell peppers. My friend wished the crepes were crispier, and I would add that I thought they should have been thinner as well. But really, it was nicely done.

The seafood risotto was a little bland. The texture of the rice was good because I don't mind risotto a bit on the soft side. Overall flavor was good but there needed to be more seafood oomph in the dish. The duck soup tasted like curry, which was strange though not unpleasant. Again, tasty things that don't go together (at least not in my opinion) were allowed to occupy the same plate. My favorite thing of the whole meal ended up being the rolls: hot, dense, spongey bread encased in incredibly thin crispy crust. I should have taken a picture of that with some good butter. It was steamily delicious.

Overall, the lunch specials were fine but not remarkable. Perhaps dinner or non-specials are the kitchen's forte, but if a restaurant is pushing certain dishes they should put a little more effort into their endeavor. Given the choice, I would return to The Girl and the Fig or The Fig Cafe before eating at La Salette again. Having said that, the only vocalized disappointment at lunch was over a very small plate of salt cod cakes. Three ping pong ball sized cakes atop a handful of lettuce greens stood out in stark contrast to the other lunch specials, which were appropriately sized for one person with a normal appetite. The kitchen really should standardize the sizes of lunch specials, because the cod cakes really did look like an appetizer when compared to the risotto or sandwiches. And a server who's asked for his recommendation of a good dish really should warn a 6'2" guy that the cod cakes might not fill him up unless he orders something else as well.




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