Last night, a friend and I ate the 8-course tasting menu at Sono. Although many of the dishes were new to me, the overall evaluation is exactly the same:
The room is lovely, the service is caring and friendly and informal, the room is quiet, and part of the reason why the room is so quiet is that there were very few patrons (on a Saturday night).
Yes, Sono is expensive, but so are many other establishments, and yet it offers so much that I can't figure out why it isn't more popular. For example, a byproduct of the lack of traffic is that you can, as we did, occupy a table for more than four hours with no pressure to leave.
The current 7-course tasting menu includes:
First, an amuse bouche of shrimp in shrimp consomme with seaweed.
1. The sashimi plate. Tonight's included yellowtail, toro, and sea bream. But the highlights for me were the bonita, and tender octopus with kiwi -- absolutely the best kiwifruit I've ever had, and the combination was an unexpected knockout.
2. The tofu wrapped crab-cake w/edamame. Absolutely superb, a worthy successor to the old taro root crab cake, sitting in tomato essence. Although it is a tough choice, I think this was my favorite single dish.
3. Absolutely perfectly cooked eel (nice charred crust) in a slightly sweet soy-based sauce.
4. Foie gras over eggplant, another standby -- excellent.
5. Lobster in a scallion-chive sauce. Maybe my least favorite of the 6 main dishes, but still terrific. The innards of the lobster were superb, especially with that sauce -- the lobster itself seemed like nothing special.
6. Duck breast in a watercress-wasabi sauce. Terrific.
Then, a sake sorbet, not sweet at all.
7. Three mini-desserts -- the molten chocolate, a green apple tart over pieces of marinated green apple, and a caramel tart. Good but not great.
Then several tiny pastries (a chocolate mousse tart, and a black and white sesame cookie, and one other wonderful pastry) -- I preferred these to the bigger desserts.
These days, you can go to a Broadway show and have an indifferent dinner in the theater district for the admittedlyl expensive) price of this massive dinner. In all but the rarest exceptions for this Chowhound, I'd rather skip the show and spend the four hours in one restaurant where the food itself can entertain and enchant.
I booked this reservation through opentable.com. While at the site, I checked a bunch of the other restaurants to see how many had reservations available for 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night (this was at 3:00 a.m. Saturday). About half had tables available.