Delicious food, cozy atmosphere, outstanding service and great wine selection; that was the experience dining at LaSalette Restaurant in downtown Sonoma. La Salette is been sharing amazing food with Sonoma visitors since 1998, it is the dream come true of Chef and owner Manuel Azevedo, who is self-made. Chef Azevedo started at the early age of 14 as a dishwasher on a local restaurant, at 16 he was already a head cook for a rib joint.
During his career Azevedo worked almost every restaurant position, from the front to the back of the house all the way to sous chef of a top restaurant in the area, position that he held for five years until he opens his own restaurant. He supplemented his work experience by teaching himself about food physics, history, and restaurant management.
LaSalette is named after Chef Azevedo's mother, here he follows his roots and passion for Portuguese cuisine with a personal contemporary touch Cozinha Nova Portuguesa. Chef Azevedo thoughtful menu combine traditional Portuguese ingredients and the best local seasonal ingredients to create elevated layers of flavor.
Our dining experience at LaSalette included an unexpected and flavorful amuse bouche of linguica (Portuguese pork sausage made at the restaurant) with olives. As a starter we had the Bolinhos de Bacalhau (Cod cakes, cilantro alioli, Moroccan black olive coulis). This little fluffy cakes just melt in your mouth and deliver a punch of cod fish flavor complemented nicely with the silky cilantro alioli.
For our main plate we had the Pork Tenderloin Recheado (Olive, fig and almond stuffing, topo cheese potato “croquettes", port wine sauce). The tender loin was perfectly cooked and juicy; the stuffing added a nice hint of sweetness and nuttiness along with crunchy texture. The side of cheese potato croquette was a delicious creamy touch, the seasonal addition of the crunchy Brussels sprouts and the wine reduction sauce sealed the flavors on the whole dish.
LaSalette Restaurant offers a great wine list with over 15 Portuguese wines to choose alongside great offerings on Sonoma local wines with few Napa Valley, CA North Coast and Lodi selections. Portuguese wines are less known in CA and the United States, although the country is best known in international wine circles for its fortified wines Port and Madeira, Portugal produces a great variety of flavorful white and red wines mostly consumed locally.
At LaSalette was great to enjoy the house wine red selection: 2010 Alandra Tinto from Portugal (a blend of Moreto, Trincadeira, and Castelão grapes) This light-bodied red wine is a bit rustic and shows aromas of black cherries, red berries with hints of earthiness and oak. On the palate this wine has flavors of raspberry, cherry, red currants and hints of vanilla, good balance between fruit acid and tannins finishing quick. Great every day red wine that will pair well with chicken, pork and pasta dishes with red sauce. Average retail price $10.