What makes Edge restaurant in Sonoma a stunner
As Fiorella Butron and I walk through the gardens of Stone Edge Farm in West Sonoma, I can almost see the creative sparks springing from her head. The lush 16 acres are planted with a cornucopia of organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, grapes and olives. The property also produces pantry products such as olive oil, eggs, honey and apple cider.
Inspired by beets nestled in the ground, she said suddenly, “cold borscht topped with caviar, with toasted brioche.”
But probably his borscht will not be the typical recipe. As a nod to Butron’s Russian boyfriend, the dish will end up on Edge’s weekly menu, served as a starter on the four-course prix fixe meal.
At his restaurant in downtown Sonoma, Butron likes to add flair and often draws inspiration from his Peruvian heritage and his training at Cordon Bleu in Lima. She could add a touch of freshly harvested chili peppers, exotic herbs, or even fruit – anything that speaks to the farm.
Any night, his inventiveness can lead to a world-inspired menu featuring baby lettuce salad with new potatoes, cucumbers and ocopa; a vinaigrette pressed in a mortar made from Peruvian huacatay (black mint), peppers and peanuts; artisanal quince vinegar splashed over grilled radicchio; or dukkah of black garlic and wild fennel pollen.
Until recently, Edge was pretty much a secret, tucked away in a historic Victorian house across East Napa Street from Cafe LaHaye and hidden behind Seville’s olive trees. It opened five years ago, but primarily served wine club members for its parent operations – the Farm and Silver Cloud Vineyard, which sits 1,800 feet at the top of the Mayacamas Range in the Moon District. Mountain by Glen Ellen.
Only the most savvy guests knew that if they planned well in advance, they could get a reservation for the Thursday dinners open to the public.
Today, for health security reasons, the house is reserved for private parties. But outside, Edge Mac owners and Leslie McQuown have built a 40-seat covered patio, where we sit at sleek white tables, dressed in flower vases and votive candles.
The vibe is contemporary and welcoming, with low-slung benches with colorful cushions, a fireplace, and an abstract steel sheet sculpture on one wall. The waiters are laid back, dressed in jeans and blousy tops. Reggae music is a fun touch, and no one will rush us – our table is ours for the whole evening.
Meals are pricey, at $ 195 for four-course dinners Thursday through Saturday and $ 105 for three-course Sunday lunches. For the kicks, you can order a 1995 Chateau Latour for $ 1,150 or a 1994 Napa Valley Dominus Cabernet Sauvignon for $ 445.
Still, there’s value to be found, as meals include finger foods, intermezzos, sweets, and Stone Edge Farm Bordeaux-style champagne and wine pairings (wine groupies will love to know that the famous local winemaker Anne Moller-Racke is the director of operations for the farm and its vineyards).
The elegance begins with a chilled hand towel, so that we can gently clean our hands before the start of the meal. Then the fun comes. The night I visited, it was two ruby red strips of fat-edged duck prosciutto and crisp, ultra-fine turnip, dressed in soy and black sesame seeds under a scattering of microgreens. Beside: a flute of Champagne Bourgeois-Boulonnais Tradition.
For the starter, a waiter places a wooden tray lined with linen containing a spoon, chopsticks on a stone rest and a blade of aromatic herb. It’s a nice presentation for the superb dish of silky kanpachi, superbly crispy squid, spoonfuls of mashed avocado, chopped tomatillos and green onions on a pond of tomatillo sauce anchored by a spoonful of Mendocino sea urchin.
What an extraordinary creation. The flavors are electric, bright with the invigorating acidity of tomatillo and the complex of sorrel and tiger leche sauce, the spicy citrus and chili marinade used to season the fish in the classic Peruvian ceviche. Next to: 2019 Stone Edge Farm Sauvignon Blanc.
Chef Butron likes to send little surprises during the meal. Tonight, it’s an intermezzo of a small homemade brioche topped with crème fraîche and Royal Ossetra caviar.
Then, it’s time for a mixed tomato salad, the tasting of juicy heirloom fruits kissed by the sun and mixed with slices of peach of the moment, lettuce, shallots in lace, French sheep’s milk cheese P’tit Basque, torn basil, sea salt and minced sunflower seed croutons in a light vinaigrette of tomato-peach-persimmon puree and basil oil. The dish took me back to the day I visited Stone Edge Farm.
And back to those beloved beets. Butron had turned the vegetables into focaccia to accompany the salad, staining the paste a deep red to add drama, if not a noticeable flavor. I brush it with homemade sea salt finished cultured butter which took five days to make. Accompanied by it all: 2015 Stone Edge Farm Surround Red Bordeaux Blend.