I had eaten at Sonoma Grill, a smart American-style bistro in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, twice before but had never written about either meal (the first time was pre-blogging, the second was me basically having the night off). But as my only time brunching there had been over five years ago, a return trip was long overdue. And as Sonoma Grill is one of those spots that only does “Sunday” brunch, it seemed like the perfect spot to hit up for my final Sunday being off for the holidays.
One of the things I like most about the Sonoma Grill is its beautiful interior. Being a wine bar, the decor and ambiance feel straight out of the vineyards of Northern California. And personally, I’m a fan of anywhere that features Mediterranean pink and orange hues.
Their pre-fixe brunch menu for $23, which both D and I opted for, is quite generous as it includes two courses and your choice of either a mimosa, bloody Mary, coffee, or juice.
For my starter, I ordered a dish that I normally never would have gotten and yet that Sunday morning I wanted to “branch.” Although I’ve only had it on a couple of occasions, I went with the Halloumi (a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk) that came with toast and house-made jam. I got quite a generous portion and was able to snack on the cheese the next day. Ordering this dish outside of the pre-fix selection costs $9.
D went the extra indulgence route with his selection of Warm Sticky Buns that came accompanied with cream cheese icing ($8 on its own). I had a bite and while there is nothing extra special about sticky buns, that doesn’t mean they’re any less sinfully divine. The fact that they also came in an adorable mini cast iron skillet also made me fall in love with the overall presentation.
And as I mentioned about wanting to branch hardcore, I continued down this path with my entree selection-a red snapper frittata. While I rarely get fish out, I don’t think I’ve ever had it at brunch. It was one of the day’s specials and I have to say upon hearing the description of it, I was definitely intrigued. I don’t know if I could have just done the fish on my own, but mixed in with egg and cheese, I did like the taste. My only minor critique was that the amount of greens in it was too much for my liking.
D opted for the Brunch Burger for his entree ($13 on its own). This massive beast consisted of an eight ounce Wagyu burger topped with pancetta (Italian style bacon), Bloody Mary ketchup, aged cheddar, and a sunny side up egg. While he enjoyed it immensely, he did say that the messiness of the egg unfortunately canceled out any unique taste of the Bloody Mary ketchup. His dish came with a choice of side (fries, salad, or fruit salad). He selected the fruit.
My only minor quibble with the meal was that when my side of toast was brought out with my entree, the toast hadn’t been buttered, nor was there any butter or marmalade on the side. I had to request some and even then I only got marmalade. I’m not sure how many people want to feast on dry toast when they’re dining out and aren’t nursing an upset stomach.
It wasn’t one of my favorite brunches but I was happy to have revisited since my last brunch there was eons ago, and more importantly, I was pleased to have tried new things. The brunch menu at Sonoma Grill is one that features innovative spins on some traditional favorites and that is something I always admire in a place.
947 Penn Avenue | Pittsburgh, PA. | 15222