Dining Outside at Edge Restaurant

A stunning halibut crudo with aguachile at Edge in Sonoma.
A stunning halibut crudo with aguachile at Edge in Sonoma.

Sometimes the best things hide in plain sight.

And if you’re very lucky, you stumble upon them before the rest of the world finds out.

Such is the case with Edge Restaurant in downtown Sonoma.

Steps from Sonoma Plaza square, this fine-dining restaurant operates inside a renovated Victorian home that you might easily pass by if you weren’t paying attention.

Fortunately, its management team reached out to invite me in as a guest of this sensational restaurant that’s operated by Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma.

The restaurant is owned by Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards and Winery, just a few miles away.
The restaurant is owned by Stone Edge Farm Estate Vineyards and Winery, just a few miles away.
The front of the restaurant.
The front of the restaurant.

The winery is owned by Leslie McQuown and her husband Mac McQuown, a serial entrepreneur who also co-founded the Chalone Wine Group and Carmenet Winery.

Executive Chef Fiorella Butron, who grew up in Peru, and cooked at Bardessono in Yountville, and the Four Seasons Maui, oversees the culinary team. She’s also a certified sommelier and studied Ayurvedic principles in India.

Executive Chef Fiorella Butron (second from left) and her team.
Executive Chef Fiorella Butron (second from left) and her team.

Previously, the space had been used for private events for the winery and its wine club members. When the pandemic hit, however, Butron and a tiny crew started offering multi-course dinners to-go. It was such a hit that they were selling 60 meals at a time. So, when restrictions eased in July 2020, they decided to go full bore to open a restaurant.

The oasis-like patio.
The oasis-like patio.
The sleek fire pit.
The sleek fire pit.

Dinner is $250 per person inclusive of paired wines. If you are not a wine imbiber, the price will still be $250, but a non-alcoholic pairing can be arranged with advance notice.

Not surprisingly, the wines featured for the most part are from Stone Edge Farm. Much of the produce used at the restaurant also hails from its 16-acre organic farm just a couple miles from the restaurant.

Although there are a few tables inside, the bulk of the seating is outside in a sequestered patio. Drapes pull back to reveal an inviting space with a sleek fire pit, and a covered roof with ceiling fans.

Warm towels.
Warm towels.

Maitre d’ Larry Nadeau greets you with utmost polish and assuredness, honed from his decades at the French Laundry. It sets the tone to let you know you are in good hands for the evening.

Warm towels arrive as you peruse the menu for that night’s tasting menu, as well as glasses of Bourgeois-Boulonnias Brut Tradition Champagne. There’s a convenient bench beside your chair to stow your purse, too.

From the get go, you notice the deft and delicate touch of the dishes. They are beautiful compositions that play up nature with tiny petals, branches and even river rocks. The seasoning with everything is simply spot-on in balance, too.

Striped prawn with brassicas.
Striped prawn with brassicas.

Santa Barbara striped prawn, as sweet as can be, arrives with its flesh barely cooked and its head fried to a deep crisp so that it’s entirely edible. Charred cauliflower and broccoli florets from the farm round out the dish with garden freshness.

The 2010 Stone Edge Farm Surround Bordeaux Blend.
The 2010 Stone Edge Farm Surround Bordeaux Blend.

The next course, served with a 2019 Stone Edge Farm Sauvignon Blanc that gets a subtle creaminess with Semillon, plays on Butron’s Peruvian background. It’s local halibut crudo done up with spicy, citrus-y, and bracing aji amarillo aguachile. The clean, mild fish is the perfect foil for this assertive, refreshing pool of green liquid. Fried ogo seaweed adds a crunchy bite. If given the chance, I would have inhaled seconds.

Farm-picked lettuces, beets, and house-cured lonza.
Farm-picked lettuces, beets, and house-cured lonza.

The salad, made with farm lettuces, gets a surprising pairing of the smooth 2010 Stone Edge Farm Surround Bordeaux Blend, until you realize that the delicate leaves and golden beets are arranged just so with lonza, house-cured pork loin sliced thin like prosciutto. It’s as porcine sweet and buttery tasting as prosciutto, too. A shower of finely grated Midnight Moon aged goat cheese goes over the top, adding a nutty, brown-butter taste.

A sampler of house-cured charcuterie.
A sampler of house-cured charcuterie.
Sunflower seed-studded sourdough.
Sunflower seed-studded sourdough.

Although it wasn’t part of the set menu, Butron also sent out a charcuterie plate with bresaola (thinly sliced cured beef), rustic coarse pork pate, and prosciutto — all made in-house — and definitely worth showing off.

It arrived with house-made sourdough made with sumac and sunflower seeds for a moist, tender loaf that was hearty tasting with an edge of savoriness. Spread on the 10-day house-cultured butter with a sprinkle of sea salt on top, and be glad you didn’t swear off carbs.

Yellowtail atop congee with XO sauce.
Yellowtail atop congee with XO sauce.

Being Chinese-American, I was so intrigued to see congee listed as the next course, envisioning perhaps a deep bowl of the comforting rice porridge. Instead, Butron cleverly turns congee on its head, using a pool of it at the very bottom of the plate almost as a sauce for the fluffy-flaky Santa Barbara yellowtail alongside turnips, bok choy, fermented tomatillos, and crisp, airy black rice crackers. Shiitakes added a rich earthiness that married with the 2014 Stone Edge Farm Surround Bordeaux Blend that’s earthier, fruitier and more prominent in tannins than the 2010 vintage. A dollop of XO sauce atop the seared fish added a boost of funky umami, which my husband enjoyed (but which was thoughtfully omitted from mine owing to my unfortunate allergy to scallops).

The 2012 Stone Edge Farm Cabernet.
The 2012 Stone Edge Farm Cabernet.

The winery’s famed 2012 Stone Edge Farm Cabernet Sauvignon appears next with its fullness of blackberries, dark plums, and cassis with a touch of black tea and graphite. It’s a dream alongside spring morels and Sonoma lamb done three ways: meltingly tender neck, rustic sausage, and juicy loin, all drizzled with fermented honey and pistachios.

Lamb three ways.
Lamb three ways.

As Nadeau makes the rounds to the tables, don’t be surprised if he stops by and asks if you’d like a splash more of any of the wines — a generous touch.

Rhubarb and tequila granita.
Rhubarb and tequila granita.
Warm herbal tea made from farm-raised herbs.
Warm herbal tea made from farm-raised herbs.

A bright pink granita, made with rhubarb and tequila, and decorated with Bachelor Buttons, arrives as a palate cleanser. On its heels comes a tea pot filled with a soothing, seasonal herbal infusion of farm-picked lemon verbena, Peruvian mint, dehydrated cherry leaves, stinging nettles, and pink peppercorns.

The flavors of pineapple, coconut and buttermilk.
The flavors of pineapple, coconut and buttermilk.

Dessert is a tender coconut tres leches cake with caramelized pineapple and tangy buttermilk ice cream.

Nut brittle and berry meringue.
Nut brittle and berry meringue.
Bordeaux Blend-infused chocolate truffle.
Bordeaux Blend-infused chocolate truffle.

Lastly, mignardises are set before you in the form of hazelnut brittle, a lingonberry meringue, and a chocolate truffle made with the winery’s Surround Bordeaux Blend that melts like butter on the palate.

Edge is a special place, indeed. And you’d be remiss not to put it front and center on your radar.

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