Restaurants & Bars

Sonoma: Estate is open - lonzo, lardo and olive oil cake

rworange | Oct 4, 200810:17 PM    

I stopped by Estate for a few appetizers and dessert. Estate was opened by the owners of the girl & the fig in the building that formerly housed The General's Daughter.

It serves regional Italian food. I had

- Lonzo with confit of pears & fennel
- Arugula & peaches with lardo, fennel seed balsamic reduction
- Elderberry Italian soda
- Rosemary olive oil cake with honey ricatta & late season figs

Presentation is beautiful. The lonzo (made in-house) is a Corsican--style cured meat made from the loin of a pig which is boned, steeped in a mixture of herbs and wine then air dried.The seven uber-thin slices of pink lonzo were fanned on a glass plate and topped with the chopped pears and fennel.

The delicate lonzo paired very nicely with the .. well, pears. It was so thin it was translucent and you could see the fork through it. The whole dish was just pretty and shimmery.

After all the reports of lardo on the board, I finally had to try it. This was a nice salad that was criss-crossed with the thin slices of lardo and about a half dozen slices of very thin but flavorful peaches. Excellent balsamic reduction. While the fennel seed was tasty,it was a little too seed-line and hard. It was a little distracting. The lardo was fine, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

The elderberry soda was lovely and is highly recommended. I've had trouble ordering elderberry drinks that don't seem to have any flavor. This had a nice taste that reminded me a little of fresh lychees.

The olive oil cake was ok. Order something else. It was a little bundt cake filled with ricotta that had a whipped cream consistancy and not any honey flavor. Three fresh fig halves were to the side. It was topped with fresh rosemary.

This is the second restaurant in this class where I've been served under-ripe figs ... and if the owners are the girl & the fig ... no ... not allowed. If those figs aren't perfect don't serve them. Also, the rosemary just seemed to be a clipping of fresh rosemary on top ... not sure if it was just decoration since chewing on fresh rosemary is like chewing on pine needles. Very nice presentation though.

I probably would have been better off with the other dessert I had considered ... biscotti with monbazillac noble rot for sipping and dipping.

The restaurant has a nice lively vibe. Not much changed other than the colors, paintings and lamps. The color scheme is maroon and mustard (it works). The pictures on the website don't really do it justice. It is a lot more casual than the first photo makes it look.

It is less formal and more fun than The General's Daughter. While there is more room, the restaurant has the feeling of the old Bizou ... and I loved that joint.

The staff is super pleasant ... much better than girl & the fig which I always felt was a little standoffish. However, they are still learning and if that is the case, putting something a esoteric as lonzo on the menu ... it needs more than a one-word description if the staff doesn't know what it is.

I look forward to going back. Had I been a bit more hungry the "coarse & creamy polenta with braised rabbit, green olives & leeks" was calling out to me. They have a nice option of ordering half dishes for many items.

Looking at the other orders, it doesn't seem they serve bread.

I think it will probably be a nice addition filling an untapped nitch in Sonoma, upscale regional Italian food.

Has anyone else tried Estate yet?

A little about lonzo

400 W Spain St, Sonoma, CA 95476

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