This is the fourth post in the West Coast! A Week in San Francisco and Sonoma Series. Other posts in this series include Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Sonoma Wine Country Weekend - Taste of Sonoma 2015, and Glen Ellen Star Sonoma.
Santé Restaurant at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is one of those places that's perfect for a wedding, Mother's Day brunch, or a special celebration. It's located in a beautiful setting, the food is elegant, and everything is just really pleasant.
We discovered Santé thanks to the helpful folks at Sonoma Valley Visitor's Bureau, who I've worked with for years on my trips out to Sonoma. We were drawn to Santé because it's known as one of the top restaurants in the area. It received a Michelin Star in 2012 (it has since lost the star, though the restaurant still appears in the Michelin guide). I also saw it on numerous "top restaurants" lists.
We came on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for brunch.
The restaurant is located just outside of Sonoma's town center. The grounds are really pretty. In fact, the day we went, there was a wedding party taking photos right outside the building.
On nice days, most people choose to eat outside right next to the pool.
We decided to get the three-course Bubbly Brunch, a special only on Sundays (June 7, 2015 to November 1, 2015). The three-course brunch costs $45. For an additional $24, you can complement the meal with unlimited Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine ($69 total).
Our first course was Cauliflower Cream + Osetra Caviar served in an egg shell. It was phenomenal. The cream had a nice, strong cauliflower flavor, and the salty caviar was simply divine.
Service was a bit slow, and it took almost another hour before our second course came. Thankfully, they kept pouring the unlimited sparkling white wine, which made the waiting seem not-so-bad.
For our second course, we ordered two different things. Bryan got the Duck Confit Salad, which included confit duck, a poached egg, black truffles, and a variety of farm fresh greens.
Again, we were very impressed with the quality of the dish. The flavors were balanced and overall the dish was excellent.
I ordered the Gazpacho, which was poured table side over a tiny pile of crab and avocado mousse. This chilled soup was creamy and refreshing. I really enjoyed the intense flavors from he fresh summer tomatoes and the sweet crab meat.
For the third course, Bryan ordered the Quail & Waffles, which came with honey butter, pickled strawberries, and syrup.
This was really good! The quail was perfectly breaded and fried. It was not greasy at all. The coating was crispy and the meat was juicy. Bryan commented that he liked how the bones were smaller so there was actually more meat than a typical "chicken & waffles."
I ordered the Omelette of Day, which was a "ratatouille" omelet served with a piece of brie on top. On the side, there was an elegant potato galette (a cake made from many thinly sliced layers of potato) as well as some simple greens. I really liked the galette, and the omelet itself was tasty, though it did not stand out in the same way as the other dishes.
Our last course was a sampling of several different house-made pastries and desserts. From left to right: chocolate croissant, honey canelle, pink peppercorn marscapone beignet, apple muffin, banana chocolate chip "brownie", and a traditional croissant.
My favorite was the pink peppercorn marscapone beignet. I had never considered using pink peppercorn in a dessert, but I really enjoyed it here. I also loved the honey canelle, but then I just have a weakness for that dessert, which is one of my favorites from any bakery.
We finished off the meal with a solid cappuccino made with Illy coffee.
It was a really nice, relaxing brunch. We enjoyed sitting outside next to the pool, sipping our sparkling wine while soaking in the sun. The pacing was definitely slower than we liked, but the quality of the food was really quite good. Because they kept pouring the sparkling wine, and because it was a lazy Sunday afternoon, the slow service didn't hurt as much.
In general, I was quite impressed with the quality of the food. We enjoyed every single dish. If you dine with someone else, it's fun to order different things so you can try the various menu items. Considering the quality of the ingredients (hello Osetra caviar!), $45 for a three-course (but really, 4-5 course) brunch is a reasonable value. If you drink a lot of sparkling wine, then getting the unlimited Gloria Farrer pairing for $24 might be a really good deal.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
100 Boyes Blvd, Sonoma, CA 95476
Disclaimer: This brunch was organized for me by the Sonoma Valley Visitor's Bureau. I did not pay for the meal. All opinions are my own.
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