Sona, which stands for “Happy” in Irish and “Golden” in Hindi is a perfect way to describe Sona Creamery and Wine Bar. Located on 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, Sona is in a prime location. Once known as the original Kmart building, Sona feeds not only the stomach, but the eye with the warm character of the establishment. Speaking to one half of the founding duo, Conan O’Sullivan, the Montana native enthusiastically opened up about being a predominately Pacific/Northwest region wine bar. Carrying many wines from Washington state, where both he and his wife lived for a while, Conan went on to share that because of global warming, prosperous wine regions have slowly moved up to the Northern region.
Known as having a heavy French wine palette, DC has slowly but surely come around to the classic wines of Washington State. Same goes with cheeses; as a highly educated and well-traveled city, Sona noticed patrons visiting and catching their eye on a cheese that would take them back to the great memories of their trip(s) which creates a personal connection to the establishment as well as allows Sona employees the opportunity to introduce other cheeses that may be similar.
Service: Founder/Owner duo and husband and wife team, Conan and Gen O’Sullivan do an exemplary job of staying visible. Waiting on tables themselves, diners get a firsthand opportunity to get to know not only about the vision of Sona, but the history of the building and a little wine and cheese 101. Their passion and care for their 196 day old establishment is not only apparent but contagious. The attentiveness that every employee displayed was impressive and reminded patrons why supporting local is the only way to go.
Food/Drink: Prepared by the brilliant chef Frank Paris (who is said to have amazing talents with pork), the menu had savory offerings that pleases any and all palettes.
Tomato Gazpacho: This cold soup was refreshing and the fresh goats milk whey sorbet scoop in the middle of the bowl was an outstanding contrast to the acidity of the tomato.
Bibb Salad: This salad looks simple but is absolutely amazing. The bite of the whole grain mustard was near addicting. Tarentaise cheese, croutons, and 25 year aged balsamic finished off this stellar salad.
Cheddar and Tomato Pie: What a knockout! Sona does an amazing job of offering vegetarian options that make even carnivores salivate, and this is on the top of the must try list! Recommended by Sona’s resident vegetarian and communications manager, Kiley Fisher, this pie showcases the fresh taste of in season heirloom tomatoes with a cheddar cheese sauce topped with none other than Fritos! One bite of this will have any diner hooked.
Signature Mac and Cheese: “What is signature about our mac and cheese is that it always changes,” said Gen O’Sullivan. With over 100 cheeses in stock, Sona’s signature mac and cheese is created from remnant blends of cheeses from other patron orders. This dish is the way mac and cheese is intended, not just cheese sauce hanging onto a noodle. It is absolutely kid approved too!
Sona Burger and Sona Fries: Juicy and tender is the best way to describe this burger.
Caramelized onions and the long and sharp taste of Der Scharfe Maxx cheese made it easy to understand why Sona’s burgers were a popular item to order. Sona Fries offered a delicious spin on cheesy fries, coated with mumbo sauce and topped with cheese curds completed this dish beautifully.
Classic Grilled Cheese: Just like the mac and cheese, this classic grilled cheese is enchanting. Served with a side of arugula, this classic showcases a mature alternative to a childhood favorite.
Lemon Curd: A winning dessert. The contrast of the lemon curd and house made goat cheese ice cream is exceptional. The sourness of the lemon was cut from the bite of the goats milk ice cream. Topped with fresh blueberries and brown butter crumbles, this dessert was the perfect ending to such an intentionally prepared meal.
Hedges Family Estate: As one of the first wine families, this Eastern Washington region red wine had a delicious robust and oaky flavor that amps up the flavor.
CMS (Cab-Merlot-Syrah): This blend is such a treat that washed over the entire palette, while red wine is known for its high acidity levels, this blend does a beautiful job of balancing. Blends are not a bad thing, nor are they something to be afraid of, they are a wonderful way to balance out stronger tannins from certain wines.
Sauvignon Blanc: Because the Washington state region is on the same latitude as French regions, this white wine was absolutely lovely. We must remember to choose wine by region and year instead of brand name.
Chenin Blanc: This was the sweetest of all the wines and had a smooth finish. The delicious and subtle full-body of this wine was a sweet treat!
Atmosphere: Sona provides a relaxing and breezy atmosphere that makes diners not only feel welcomed, but allows them to feel invested in the establishment. The thought and creativity from the kitchen is almost a silent promise to each diner that a new favorite dish will be served. Although it is also a wine bar, Sona is kid friendly. This is a perfect place to grab a quality meal with friends over and over again.
Overall Experience: The Sona experience is supreme, from knowledge to service this restaurant will become a local staple and favorite very soon.
After dining at Sona, there is no doubt as to why they named it after such positive meanings. Food not only keeps bonds but also creates them, and Sona will be the beginning of many stories to come!