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La Salette - Portuguese in Sonoma


Carolyn Tillie
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LaSalette

452-H First Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476

707-938-1927

LaSalette Website

A bunch of us gathered in Sonoma on Saturday afternoon to be transported to a new land... Portugal! As always, great friends and great food makes for great times, but I would like to believe all were impressed by the quality of the food and the mere fact that finally there are some other wine-friendly, innovative cuisines showing up In Wine Country other than French, Italian, California Cuisine, Cal-inspired French, Cal-inspired Italian, and a smattering of Spanish... I can't tell you if it is authentic as La Salette is my first exposure to Portuguese food, but I can tell you that now having eaten more than two-thirds of the menu over several visits that there isn't anything I haven't enjoyed (okay, a tad too much cilantro on the mussels for MY taste). I hope the others will chime in with specifics as to what they thought. Any favorites?

Small Courses

Tripe Porto Style, oven based with white beans, linguica and vegetables.

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Spinach Salad with warm roasted garlic and presunto vinaigrette, goat cheese, and spiced almonds.

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Sardine Special -- Second time I've had this dish and has proven fabulous on both occasions.

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Smoked Rabbit, warm salad of house-smoked rabbit, white beans, and roasted peppers. Nice combination of flavors and textures in this dish.

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Octopus Salad - on special that day.

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Mussels and Clams, steamed with linguica, coconut milk, curry, white wine and garlic

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Dungeness Crab in puff pastry served with fennel-bell pepper slaw and tomato-shrimp sauce (Carrie's Favorite!)

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Cod Cakes, salt cod, potato and onion are baked then served with cilantro mayonnaise and romaine.

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Portuguese Cheeses, a tasting of island Queijo do Topo, mainland Serra da Estrela, homemade Queijo Fresco, and Linguica garnished with marmelada, fruit, and candied almonds.

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Main Courses

Mozambique Prawns, pan roasted in Piri-Piri, with coconut rice and tomato-peanut sauce.

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Petaluma Duck, crispy-roasted with honey and pistachios served with duck stock reduction. Bits of duck confit highlighted this dish when Bruce shared!

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Veal Shank, stewed in red wine and veal stock, with roasted potatoes and baked vegetables.

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Grouper Special:

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Feijoada Completa, Brazilian national dish of stewed beef, pork, smoked sausage, and black beans, served with rice, collard greens, and traditional condiments.

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Pictures of diners whose permission I have received, still waiting to hear from a few!

Winesonoma and Patricia:

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Irish Cream and Russell:

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Not Pictured:

Wolfert (who would only consent if her picture made her look like Jennifer Garner), Carolyn Tillie (because I'm holding the camera!), and Shawn (well, you can see part of Shawn in Citizen Cane's picture if I get to post that one). And Jschyun, do I get to post your's?

Oh yeah, and there were these rolls made of a corn-based dough, fresh from the wood-fired oven... :wub:

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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What a wonderful post, especially since I happen to be in the middle of educating myself about Portuguese food and what is available in the Bay Area. This looks outstanding. Those rolls, were they like a flat bread or like a regular roll?

I see from their site that they mention a bakery. Is that so or is it just that they bake their own goods and serve them in the restaurant?

I would like to try it this week. Could you or one of the other people who attended the dinner suggest what you think would be the one best appetizer, entree and dessert to choose? ... that cheese plate does look wonderful. Do they make their own Linguica?

Also, I love port. Gee, I hope this is in reasonable driving distance from me so I can visit more than once.

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Russ and I just can't stop talking about the delicious food which was matched by the wonderful company. Thanks to winesonoma and Carolyn Tillie for planning and organizing a very pleasurable lunch.

Krys, you asked about the rolls? They were not flat bread. They were typically roll-shaped (round, about 3" wide and 1" high) but completely different than any roll I have encountered. Perhaps it was the corn meal that gave them a dense crust that surrounded a slightly softer interior. Very rustic. The flavor: can you imagine a mild sourdough with a sweet aftertaste? Then add to that the smoky taste of an almost charred bottom crust. Can you tell I loved the rolls?

I ordered the Mussels and Clams followed by the Cheese Plate. I thought the shellfish broth was delicious and perfect for dunking the bread. My only criticism would be that many of the mussel shells were empty which was disappointing. That happens.

The Cheese Plate was impressive. Their house made Queijo Fresco is one of the best fresh cheeses I have tasted. Drizzled with honey, it melted in the mouth and made me very happy.

The restaurant itself was cozy with walls painted a warm Mediterranean gold. The service was attentive. At the very end Chef came out to thank us. Of course, he deserved the thanks.

To top off the lunch, Bruce took us on a walk around the historic Sonoma square. Who knew Sonoma was settled before the Gold Rush? We're looking forward to visiting again.

Lobster.

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What a wonderful post, especially since I happen to be in the middle of educating myself about Portuguese food and what is available in the Bay Area. This looks outstanding. Those rolls, were they like a flat bread or like a regular roll?

I see from their site that they mention a bakery. Is that so or is it just that they bake their own goods and serve them in the restaurant?

I would like to try it this week. Could you or one of the other people who attended the dinner suggest what you think would be the one best appetizer, entree and dessert to choose? ... that cheese plate does look wonderful. Do they make their own Linguica?

Also, I love port. Gee, I hope this is in reasonable driving distance from me so I can visit more than once.

They bake their own goods. As for menu selection that is really hard to say, as everything I've ever had there is so good. I had the Duck and the Salt Cod both of which I've had before and really enjoy. Sonoma is only 45 min from the Golden Gate Bridge. If you come be sure to visit the Wine Exchange and The Cheesemakers Daughter. :biggrin: I love showing off the wonderful town where I live.

Edited by winesonoma (log)

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Do they sell Pasteis de Nata at the bakery?  :wub:

edited to say that the food looks fabulous and I'm there when next I'm in the neighborhood!  yum.

You can get Pasteis de nata at Hiser bakery in Hayward or the Portuguese Bakery in Santa Clara. Thanks so much for giving them a name. I'm just learning about Portuguese baking and I thought they were very yummy custard tarts.

I haven't tried the one at the Portuguese Bakery, but I liked the one at Hiser very much. They have these little macroon like tarts as well. Do you have a name for those? The tarts at both bakeries look more like the picture above rather than the picture in the link.

Hiser and Portuguese bakery are old fashioned type of bakeries. They probably don't have the same level of deliciousness that La Salette has. It's sort the the Portugues equivalent of comparing the baked goods at Neldhams to Tartine.

Anyway, I'm going to look for this when I go this week. I liked the hiser verstion very much.

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Do they sell Pasteis de Nata at the bakery?  :wub:

edited to say that the food looks fabulous and I'm there when next I'm in the neighborhood!  yum.

No. I asked at lunch today and they don't sell Pasteis de Nata.

BUT they recently started opening at 8:30 am when they sell fresh Portuguese baked goods and some light breakfast items. The waiter said that the selection was on the whim of the chef. Morning pastries are served Wednesday thru Sunday, 8:30 to 11:30.

If the baked goods are as wonderful as my dessert or the wonderful rolls, it is worth stopping in. The rolls are available for take out. Six rolls will cost you $4.50.

There are a limited selection of Portuguese Cheeses, meat, fish, sweets and canned goods.

I wonder if the white corn flour they sell is what is used to make those terrific rolls?

There are three types of linquicia ... regular, hot and Caseira. The cheeses, Topo s. George, Casteloes and Sierra de Estralia, sadly are not the house made cheeses. Boneless bacalhou is sold. Various canned olives, beans, peppers, mixed vegetables are available. The sweets include Maria Viera cookies, Marmelada (quice jelly), nine islands chocolates and regina chocolates.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Ah-ha! So that is why it was packed when I took an out-of-town friend there this evening? Possibly... that or Manny's great food.

Also, they have a bottle of 1958 Krohn Colheita Tawny Port that was absolutely divine...

New favorite dish: Pork Tenderloin stuffed with olives, figs, and almonds, with roasted potatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, in a sublime citrus sauce.

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You know, I should have raed the review before I made my post, above. Yeah, the guy slammed some things but how stupid is this statement:

When you order the Oven-Baked Sardines ($11; 3.5 stars), be prepared to deal with four whole fishes, about 5 or 6 inches long from head to tail, propped up over a mound of onions. The best way to eat them, I find, is to pull back the skin on one side and slip off the filet (or eat skin and filet together), then lift off the spine and bones from the tail end toward the front, then eat the filet that's underneath. The flavor is smoky and oceanic, tangy from an oil and vinegar sprinkling, with black oil-cured olives and wedges of hard-boiled egg also on the plate.

Who the hell orders fresh oven-baked sardines and proceeds to f*$&king FILET them!?!?!? Doesn't he have a clue that the whole bloody fish (sans head) is to be eaten, bones and all?

How do you spell LAME? :hmmm:

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I read Jeff's reviews every sunday and find them inconsistent with my experiences. He once joked about hanger steak as though he did not know what it was. When I sent him an email I got no reply. He is, what we have here, however. :rolleyes:

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Thanks, winesonoma, for posting that review. And thanks, Carrie, for pointing out that the reviewer doesn't have a clue. I delighted in fresh sardines throughout Greece last spring and never saw anyone filet them! (Well, I did see a few hearty eaters dramatically filet them with their teeth but I thought that was just for show. :raz: ) Over all, the review reminded me how very unique and delicious La Salette is. Must return.

Lobster.

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