El Dorado Kitchen is our go-to spot on Sonoma Plaza. The food has been consistently good every time we’ve eaten there, and their mussels and french fries are some the best. We’ve always found it to be superior to its overhyped neighbor, The Girl & the Fig, which has let us down on multiple occasions. But EDK has always served us a solid meal.
We typically don’t spend as much time in the town of Sonoma as other parts of the county, but we try to stop by a couple times a year to pick up wine at Sonoma Wine Shop. SWS is right on the square, and sources wine from “ultra-small wineries in California, direct from the winery owner, winemaker, or vineyard owner.” We’ve been wine club members there for many years, and we continue to enjoy the variety of small production local wines at decent prices. The shop itself is a little hodge-podge, with fickle service, and staff that seems to turn over quickly. But despite these flaws, we continue to enjoy their wines!
We stopped by SWS this past New Year’s Eve for a quick tasting and to pick up a case of wine. Afterward, we enjoyed a tasty brunch at El Dorado Kitchen, which is located inside the El Dorado Hotel, right on the square. It is a large restaurant, great for a large group, and they serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Jack and I rang in the New Year here many years ago, and it was a mellow yet classy way to end the year.
On this visit, we started with the Steamed Mussels with white wine, créme fraîche, chickpeas, fines herbes (parsley, chives, tarragon, and chervil – often used in French cuisine), and country croutons, as well as the Truffle Fries with Parmesan and chives (a must-order every time we visit). The mussels were plump and steaming hot, and the truffle fries may be some of the most perfect french fries I’ve had.
For our entrées, Jack ordered the Fried Chicken Breast with potato purée, fingerling potatoes, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and arugula. This was a bit of a “miss” for us – the chicken was a bit dry, which may have been due to the fact that it was only breast meat. I ordered the Vegetable Risotto with butternut squash, golden chanterelles, spinach, Parmesan, truffle oil, and crispy Brussels sprouts leaves. I was very satisfied with this dish. The risotto was creamy with a great rich truffle flavor, and the winter vegetables packed a lot of flavor as well – sweet butternut squash, bright Brussels sprouts, and umami from the wild mushrooms. I did have to salt this dish, but that isn’t saying much, since I tend to favor highly salted food (I blame it on eating out so often…) The portion was quite large, so I ate the leftovers the next morning as a snack (I would have paid big money to have someone turn the leftovers into arancini for me!)
Our meal was very satisfying, as usual. I am less familiar with the restaurants in the town of Sonoma than other parts of Sonoma County, but I can confidently say that El Dorado Kitchen will not let you down.
El Dorado Kitchen: www.eldoradosonoma.com/restaurant 405 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476. (707) 996-3030. Hours: Mon-Thurs breakfast 8-11am, lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, lounge menu 2:30-5:30pm, dinner 5:30-9pm; Fri-Sat breakfast 8-11am, lunch 11:30am-2:30pm, lounge menu 2:30-5:30pm, dinner 5:30-10pm; Sun brunch 9:30am-2:30pm, lounge menu 2:30-5:30pm, dinner 5:30-9pm. Accepts reservations via phone and OpenTable.