Estate Restaurant Sonoma Video
ESTATE Restaurant Sonoma
ESTATE Restaurant will be closing in mid-September 2012. Earlier this year, the property was purchased by Ramekins Culinary School. There is a possibility ESTATE may be opening in a new location but in the meantime you can expect some upcoming ESTATE dinners at Suite D, an event space located at 21800 Schellville Road in Sonoma.
Sondra Bernstein, who owns and runs several restaurants and businesses including the newly-opened Estate and the ever-popular the girl & the fig, is an Entrepreneur, a Restaurateur, a Businesswoman. But, if you really want to know what to expect from a visit to Estate, you have to understand that Sondra Bernstein is an Artist. She simply has one of those personalities that forces her to create: Following a formula is not an option. So, it’s little surprise that her ventures are not only well-executed, but they’re also inspired, passionate, unique. They have soul. And Estate is no exception. Each piece is wonderful on its own: the food, the ambiance, the service. But, ah, when Bernstein brings them all together, the song can send a tingle up your spine.
The food is Italian-inspired. Meaning, the dishes aren’t always going to follow the traditional recipes. Instead, they’re going to taste like what your Italian grandma would have made if she happened to live on a farm in Sonoma. (And if she happened to be an extraordinary cook.) Many of the same techniques for food preparation and cooking are used; and yes, there’s lots of pasta. But, the ingredients are the bounty of Sonoma County. Chef and business partner John Toulze.—another artistic soul—recently travelled through Italy looking as much for inspiration as for information. Watch the video above to get a feel for the dishes that captured his imagination.
Estate is in a beautiful, historic building located in Sonoma California. The 1884 Victorian was once the home of General Vallejo’s daughter and her husband, the son of Count Agoston Haraszathy (the “grandfather of California vitivulture”).
Before Bernstein bought it, the building was home to a popular restaurant called The General’s Daughter. A businessman would have kept the name and left everything the same as much as possible, cashing in on the reputation. But you can’t ask a true artist to live off a derivative work. Instead, Bernstein’s challenge was to take this space and make it her own. And she did. There’s still a feel of history, and (for lack of a better way to put it) “memories” in the space. Yet, it’s hip and contemporary as well. And more fun and casual and lively than it had been in its past incarnation.
This feeling of “historical yet hip” is echoed in the artworks, which are manipulated stills from old Italian films. Bernstein went through several movies to find the perfect stills—the ones that seemed to convey an entire story in one photo. Then the project was passed on to fellow artist Christopher Butler who created his own technique for rendering the photos.
Not only are the resulting artworks striking in their own right, but I also love the fact that the interior was designed by the owner and expresses her unique vision. I, for one, am so tired of everything having to look “right.” Does everyone who is at all in the public eye need an image consultant? Does every actress have to be dressed by a designer? Does every business owner have to hire an interior decorator who knows the proper colors? Yuk. Here we are, a country so proud of our freedom, yet grown adults are scared to dress themselves and to decorate their own rooms. So I love that Bernstein’s businesses are not only lovely but also bold and real and unique.
Pardon me if I sound totally Northern Californian, but Estate has a “good vibe.” The wait staff is professional yet friendly, and they seem so…calm. It’s just not typical to see waiters and waitresses and bussers being so tranquil. And it rubs off, making the food—and the whole experience—more enjoyable.
What’s the secret to a tranquil staff? I’m not sure, but I’m guessing it has something to do with their boss…
Not long ago, I spoke with Bernstein for quite a long time on the phone. Not only does she have one of the nicest, most soothing voices you can imagine, but, nothing seems to get her ruffled. We spoke shortly after the restaurant’s opening and everything was still in flux. The stock market tanked that day. The economy was in shambles. And, even as I pointed out the obvious hurdles in her life (because I’m just that kind of person), Bernstein remained calm and tranquil.
And when she combines that relaxed feel with a gracious estate and incredible food, Bernstein creates a wonderful dining experience.
ESTATE Restaurant Sonoma has an extended winelist and full bar.
Beautiful outdoor garden patio seating.
MENU - Updated 10/16/08
CAMPARI & SODA LEMON TWIST. 7
AMERICANO - GIN, CAMPARI, VERMOUTH, SODA. 7
BELLINI - WHITE PEACH PUREE, PROSECCO. 8
* FELLINI - LIMONCELLO, BLOOD ORANGE, PROSECCO. 8
MARKET ANTIPASTI ASSORTMENT FOR THE TABLE
CHEF’S CHOICE. 26
FROM THE GARDEN ITALIAN VARIETAL OLIVES OREGANO, OLIVE OIL, PEPPER FLAKES. 4/6
PADRON PEPPERS BLISTERED, SEA SALT, PANGRATTATO. 5/7
SAUTÉED RAPINI CHILI FLAKES & GARLIC. 4/7
WHITE BEANS HOUSE-MADE TESA. 6
SPICY CHICKPEA BRUSCHETTA MCEVOY OLIVE OIL, GRILLED BREAD. 6
FORAGED SAUTÉED MUSHROOMS GARLIC CHIPS. 8
ARTICHOKES TWO WAYS OIL CURED, BRAISED & CRISPY FRIED. 9
SALUMI WORKSHOP PROSCUITTO DI PARMA
OVEN ROASTED FIGS, GRISSINI. 15
*LONZOCONFIT OF PEARS & FENNEL. 7
*HOUSE-CURED PLATE JOHN’S CHOICE. 18
MADE FROM MILK
BURATTA GRILLED BREAD, TAPENADE, SILORO EVOO. 10
MOZZARELLA OVEN ROASTED TOMATOES, ESTATE BASIL. 10
ITALIAN CHEESE TRIOTHREE CONDIMENTS. 14
BELLWETHER FARMS RICOTTA TRUFFLE HONEY. 7
THE CHEF’S FAVORITES
SEMOLINA CRUSTED SWEETBREADS PANCETTA-PLUM CONFIT. 9
CHICKEN LIVERS BITTER GREENS, AGED BALSAMIC VINEGAR 8
POTTED DUCK LIVER IN A JAR WITH TOAST, MALDON SALT. 15
FROM THE SEA
MONTEREY SARDINES INFUSED LEMON OIL, FRIED CAPERS. 6/10
BOCADILLO WITH WHITE ANCHOVIES GRILLED TOMATO BREAD. 5
OCTOPUS SAUTÉED FENNEL, SCALLIONS, SMOKED PAPRIKA VINAIGRETTE. 8
MUSSELS BASIL - PISTACHIO PESTO, PROSCIUTTO NIBS, BREAD CRUMBS. 7/12
CELERY & TOMATO SALAD SHAVED BOTTARGA, FENNEL VINAIGRETTE. 8
ARUGULA & PEACH LARDO, FENNEL SEED-BALSAMIC REDUCTION. 10
OAK HILL FARM GREENS PINE NUTS & AGED SHERRY VINAIGRETTE. 7
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES WATERMELON, EVOO, AGED BALSAMIC, SEA SALT. 9
PASTA AND POLENTA
BUCATINI OLIVE OIL, RED PEPPER FLAKES, RAPINI & BACON. 8/15
black truffle GNOCCHI BRAISED PORK CHEEKS, PECORINO VECCHIO. 12/18
GARGANELLI TUNA CONSERVA, oven dried tomatoes, black olives, provolone, basil. 18
estate-crafted ravioli bellwether farm ricotta, roasted beets, leeks, ricotta salata. 15
COARSE & CREAMY POLENTA BRAISED RABBIT, GREEN OLIVES & LEEKS. 18
HALIBUT LEMON VERBENA VINAIGRETTE, WHITE BEANS, BABY ARTICHOKES. 25
WHOLE ROASTED FISH HEAD ON, aromatics, SALSA VERDE, FARRO. MARKET PRICE FOR TWO
HALF SONOMA CHICKEN BRINED & BROASTED, TREVISO, SMASHED POTATOES. 21
ROASTED DOUBLE CUT PORK CHOP PEPERONATA, CHICKPEA FRIES. 26
LEG OF LAMB WHITE BEANS, ROSEMARY LAMB JUS, GREMOLATA. 24
CREEKSTONE STEAK ROASTED POTATOES, SEASONAL VEGETABLE, TRUFFLE BUTTER. 32
BLUE STAR WHEAT. 3.75
STONE PALE ALE. 3.75
BEAR REPUBLIC “RACERS” IPA. 3.75
BITBURGER – NON ALCOHOLIC. 3.75
SCRIMSHAW PILSNER. 3.75
ANDERSON VALLEY BOONT AMBER. 3.75
LOST COAST GREAT WHITE. 3.75
QUENCH YOUR THIRST
NATURA WATER – STILL, SPARKLING. 5 REFILLS. 2
SAN PELLEGRINO LIMONATA OR ARANCIATA. 3
NANA MAE’S ORGANIC APPLE JUICE. 3
ELDERBERRY ITALIAN SODA. 3
ADAGIO TEA – BLACK OR OOLONG. 3
* = Estate crafted