For a long time Sonora has been on my list of restaurants in Westchester to visit. This classic eatery owned by renowned Chef Rafael Palomino features the Latin flavors of Spain, Portugal, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico and other Latin American countries. Chef Palomino weaves the tastes and ingredients of these countries into a delightful and innovative menu with something for everyone in your party.
Located in Port Chester, N.Y., the home of a vibrant dining scene, Sonora resides off the well traveled path of Main Street and occupies a quiet corner of a residential area that makes the perfect venue for this dining destination. The interior is warm and inviting, with its soothing neutral colors, walls decorated in what appear to be cave paintings, modern banquettes, soft lighting and warm colored tile floors. The effect is such that it creates a comfortable and inviting atmosphere. Though it was a Sunday evening, the entire first floor of the restaurant was filled.
The cocktail menu ($12-14) also draws on its Spanish and Latin American roots with such innovative drinks as the Brazilian Cosmo with Blood orange vodka and a sugar rimmed glass which was both refreshing and sophisticated. The classic Margarita was given new life with a Mango Madness Margarita featuring tequila, orange liquor, mango juice and lime. As well the Organic Grapefruit Margarita was yet another fruity and innovative spin on this favorite cocktail.
Tapas can be enjoyed as a meal, to share or as your starter. It is nice to see the chef has included vegetarian and vegan options on the menu to make everyone in your party feel welcome. We sampled several tapas from the menu including the Quinoa Empanadas from Peru prepared with roasted eggplant, quinoa and goat cheese filled empanadas with chocolate vinaigrette. Healthy and delicious.
The Portuguese style Pulpo, Grilled octopus served with fingerling potatoes, arugula, diced chorizo and chimichurri was a great selection and can be enjoyed as an app or a main dish ($15). We also sampled the Tacos de Mahi Mahi ($12) with succulent fish served with pineapple, cabbage and citrus wasabi in a soft flour tortilla. A real favorite and highly recommended.
Main dishes at Sonora include beef, seafood, chicken and vegetarian dishes. Influences for these dishes are drawn again from Spain, Portugal, Latin America and the U.S. The Camarones y Vieras ($26)was a wonderful dish shrimp, sea scallops, black bean, Monterrey jack cheese raviolis, and sweet corn-chipotle-chardonnay sauce served in a delicate woven and edible nest. A beautiful presentation and nothing like I imagined and was really fantastic. I was expecting just ravioli, which I discovered at the bottom of the “nest”. Great dish.
Paella is a classic Spanish dish and our table sampled the Palomino Paella ($30) and the health seafood dish with shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, chorizo, saffron rice with sofrito sauce was filling as it was good.
For the vegetarian in your party, the chef has crafted a Paella dish that was terrific. The Vegan Paella was a unique and flavorful dish and a real winner. Presented in a pan similar to a regular paella, this dish was a blend of farro, pumpkin slices, roasted brussels sprouts, beets, cauliflower topped with tofu aioli. A really healthy dish for anyone and certainly a welcome sight on the menu with so many diners seeking healthy choices when the dine.
It is easy to see why this restaurant is so popular and has such a loyal following. Chef Rafael Palomino has crafted a fine and interesting menu drawing influences from Europe, Latin America and the United States that are innovative, healthy and satisfying. If you have not been to Sonora yet, I certainly encourage you to make a reservation soon.
Menu items also available through Uber Eats, Grubhub and Seamless.
179 Rectory Street Port Chester NY
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