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Great meal at (the unjustly ragged on) Sonsie

Joanie Jul 19, 2007 05:06 AM

I know there are only about 3 other people here who share my fondness for Sonsie on Newbury St. and the rest write off my ramblings cuz I like it so much. But I've had great meals all but one time (and that one meal was still okay). I hadn't been there in 2 years and tend to go with this same friend. We didn't bother making a reservation and it actually worked out better cuz we got the corner seats which I've requested before and it never quite worked out. About 2/3 full at 7:30 on a Wed. but still very loud. Very interesting cocktail menu, I went with something different that had cucumbers in it, some lime and ginger ale I think. Unfortunately, it didn't come in a pretty glass but I made do, B. got a sidecar. It was really hard to decide on an appetizer, they had a white pizza w/ grilled corn and smoked bacon that was calling my name. But they were featuring apps with tomatoes so we picked the steak bruschetta w/ fresh moz. and tom. It was very good, steak was tasty and done great, good olive oil, but smaller than I thought it would be. Entrees all sounded good and except for 3 meat dishes, all $24 and below. I went with the fish and chips which was a mahi mahi coated in panko crumbs with a couple shrimp, homemade potato chips, a little bit of leek, a soy type sauce and around the plate was a spicy remoulade which was great. Good, but I had plate envy cuz he chose the bluefish w/ bacon wrapped scallops and mashed. The bluefish was grilled perfectly, scallops were tasty, very good. We also got a side of garlic spinach ($4, a bargain these days), another sidecar and I got a pinot grigio that I allowed him to upsell me on. And it did seem to have a little more oomph than most. There was a nice lemon sounding dessert but we both love the chocolate bread pudding so stuck with their signature dish. The girls at the hostess station were very nice, service was friendly and knowledgeable but he did try to grab out plates away from us a little too quickly a couple times. $119 before tip and a great time.

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  1. Bob Dobalina RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 05:47 AM

    Thanks, Joanie. I am perhaps a 4th person who agrees that Sonsie gets a bad rap. I have always been particularly impressed with the high level of professionalism with the host/hostess, and waitstaff to a lesser extent.

    1. g
      garlic breath RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 05:58 AM

      Joanie, I have also found the food at Sonsie to be reliably good. I've heard several other chefs sing the praises of Bill Poirier, who I believe cooked at Seasons under Lydia Shire and Jasper White. I do find the scene at Sonsie to be distracting, and the waitstaff to occasionally be preoccupied with things other than service, but I've always enjoyed the food.

      3 Replies
      1. re: garlic breath
        tatamagouche RE: garlic breath Jul 19, 2007 06:01 AM

        Ditto me.

        1. re: tatamagouche
          Joanie RE: tatamagouche Jul 19, 2007 10:07 AM

          i knew garlic breath agreed, so we've got our three people. I *will* make sure to get back fairly soon for that pizza and the pineapple infused vodka. Or the cornmeal shrimp & tomato appetizer. They've got one of those annoying sites with no prices, but a relative bargain these days.


          1. re: Joanie
            aecs RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 10:33 AM

            Oh Joanie, you have to get the bacon/corn pizza. We went in for drinks a week or so ago and ended up sharing it. Between the crispy, tasty pizza and a few gin and tonics, it was a perfect light summer dinner!!

      2. Small Plates RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 10:37 AM

        I lived at the Charles White apartments for a few years, and Sonsie was literally 'out my back door.' I have got to say that I never had a bad meal there. Throughout the 90s when I was single, it was our regular hang out - anytime there was an occasion (b-day, etc.) we would pile in to Sonsie for a big group dinner and socializing afterward. The food was always excellent. These days I am more likely to drop in after going to the salon or for brunch on weekends, and so I am more likely just noshing on pizza with a glass of wine or a mimosa. But it is all still very good. I think the spring rolls are excellent. And lastly, I still can't get out of my head a pasta dish I had a while back that was beet ravioli with a butter lemon sauce. So good. So, I too am a Sonsie fan, Let's put it this way: if it were ever to close, I would shed a nostalgic tear and miss it greatly.

        1. b
          BackBayGirl RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 11:13 AM

          I like Sonsie to Joanie. Great neighborhood hangout in Back Bay and I've never had a bad meal there. I've always been treated well too.

          1. MC Slim JB RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 11:23 AM

            I haven't been back in a couple of years now, but I too used to live nearby, and found myself there a lot, as visitors often wanted to try it. I had the best luck at breakfast (very pleasant, uncrowded cafe space, excellent coffees, good simple pastries, free Wi-Fi), lunch, and weekend brunch.

            The flatbread pizzas, spring rolls, and other appetizer-sized plates were consistently good. I had much worse luck at dinner, found it very, very inconsistent, a great meal one night, and something pretty bad on the next visit, to the point where I stopped gambling on it. Bartending was highly variable in quality. Service in the dining room varied from okay to good (it always seemed better in the cafe.) I don't know how many exec chefs ago that was. But it sounds like it's worth giving another shot sometime. God knows there are few enough decent options on Newbury.

            1. b
              Bostonbob3 RE: Joanie Jul 19, 2007 11:28 AM

              I don't hate the food at Sonsie (generally) at all. It's usually pretty good, and on occasion very good.

              It's the scene that annoys me. But that's because I'm ugly.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Bostonbob3
                gini RE: Bostonbob3 Jul 19, 2007 11:39 AM

                You echo my sentiments. The last time there were far too many sparkley tube tops surrounding our table. It's certainly not creative or interesting cooking, but the food is ok. As Slim said, a good fall back in the face of lackluster dining options on Newbury.

                1. re: Bostonbob3
                  Bob Dobalina RE: Bostonbob3 Jul 19, 2007 11:50 AM

                  So that's why hounds hate Sonsie! We all eat too much! ;)

                  1. re: Bob Dobalina
                    Bostonbob3 RE: Bob Dobalina Jul 19, 2007 11:54 AM

                    Ha! It's true. My Versace suit looks like a sausage casing on me now.

                    Or maybe, just maybe, that's what Versace was going for all along....

                    1. re: Bostonbob3
                      yumyum RE: Bostonbob3 Jul 19, 2007 12:35 PM

                      I think if Mr. Versace didn't want the waist-band to dig in, he just could have put in those stretchy sans-a-band extenders. Would have saved us all a few trips to the tailor. Bob you crack me up.

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