The old Harvest Moon, a favorite for regulars in the Sonoma, closed at the end of 2019 after a successful 13 years in business. That excellent space in the middle of The Square at Sonoma is now a new neighborhood wine bar, restaurant, and bottle shop. Similar to the ethos of their predecessor, Valley Bar + Bottle aims to be first and foremost a neighborhood restaurant. They focus on sustainable ingredients and have an ever-rotating menu based on the seasons.
We came here with a couple friends and ordered a BUNCH of stuff to share. Our friends, who were regulars of Harvest Moon, happily adopted this new places as one of their new regular haunts.
The food was simple and delicious. They source a lot of excellent produce, and it clearly shows. The cuisine is ”Californian”, though there’s certainly international influences in the food. Certain dishes reminded me of Hong Kong (e.g., XO Sauce Eggs or the Crispy Rice with Ginger Scallion Sauce), while we also saw dishes with a Mexican or Spanish bent (black beans, Romesco sauce, etc.).
I was pleasantly surprised at how good the steak was. Frankly speaking, I think it was the best steak I had during our 3-month stint in US and Europe. It was nicely aged, very well-seasoned, and cooked perfectly. I most remember its flavor, which was very prominent (“beefy”), and just really really good.
Our friends’ insisted on requesting their favorite side dish, this simple Crispy Rice with Scallion Ginger Sauce. It reminded me of Hong Kong, sort of like the crispy part of clay pot rice mixed with the scallion ginger sauce that’s ubiquitous in Hong Kong. This version was very good, and definitely a crowd pleaser.
Surprisingly, another favorite was the humble black beans, which were phenomenal. It turns out one of the chefs comes from a Hispanic background (maybe Mexican?), and just knew how to make these deeply flavorful beans.
General Thoughts - Valley Bottle + Bar
The place was packed when we went, full of locals and tourists alike. The food is rustic, flavorful, and fresh. They call their food ”California home cooking,” which is very fitting. I’d certainly come back again, especially for the steak, black beans, and crispy rice. Those mourning the loss of Harvest Moon have a great new neighborhood-focused restaurant they can visit on a regular basis.
Valley Bottle + Bar Sonoma
487 1st West
Sonoma, CA 95476