I finally ate at Capitol Hill’s stylish Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar (223 Pennsylvania) and was impressed, yet may not have ordered right. With friends for lunch, and despite the tantalizing aroma emanating from the pappardelle at the next table, where both people had ordered the porky, thymey mass of pasta goodness, I went instead with the burger. And the burger was excellent! Local dry-aged beef, good char on the outside and perfect medium-rare inside as requested, with nice beefy flavor; juicy, and enough soft bun to sop it up; lots of fresh toppings including red onion (red onion signals gourmet, of course!). And yet I’m still not sure I should have passed up the pappardelle. One dining companion did get the pappardelle and he vacuumed it right up; another companion had the spaghetti which didn’t give me sensory overload from across the table in quite the same way, but it too disappeared with gusto.
Maybe part of the problem was the fries accompanying the burger, which looked great — thin-cut, dark-fried, well-spiced and salted — but lacked crispness. They weren’t bad, but could have been great, and had they been great, the overall dish would have been awesome. As it was, still a fine lunch, not cheap at $15 but not unreasonable for a nice restaurant these days. Next time I’m getting the pappardelle (or the pizza, and maybe the brussel sprouts) (I’m not even hungry, and now I’m getting hungry). Also, this is by far the most times I have ever used the term “pappardelle” in any two paragraphs.