Sonoma's is one of the village center joints that does an American menu and lively night life. In other words . . . that means it is a neighborhood bar. Wendy is a vegetarian who eats fish. In other words . . . actually I don't know what means. This is Wendy's review of Sonoma's -- slightly edited from her two emails:
I ate with a friend for the first time at Sonoma's in [the Owen Brown] Village Center in Columbia and it was very good. They have TVs all around the inside and some nights they have entertainment (a DJ or a band). What's fun is they also have trivia which we were trying to answer while we waited for our food. I had a Rum Runner to drink, which was delicious and refreshing with a combination of liquors and fresh fruit juice. My friend had a Creamsicle, which wasn't creamy, but had vanilla vodka, O. J. and some other ingredients that made it a hit.
Being vegetarian, I ordered the fish taco appetizer, which I have ordered at many places, many times, and usually wondered why I ordered it, because it wasn't good. I questioned the waiter about what kind of fish and how did they cook it and he said it was pan-seared tilapia (not fried). They put some fresh avocado slices on the tacos and served it with salsa and sour cream on the side. They were the best fish tacos I ever had. My friend had a shrimp salad on lettuce and chose coleslaw as a side. She liked hers, but I loved mine. We both really liked the dessert we split: apple pie a la mode with whipped cream. The apple pie didn't have a crust, it just kinda melted in your mouth and the ice cream/whipped cream made an excellent complement to the fresh, slightly tart apples.
Sonoma's has soups, salads, pasta, burgers, seafood (really good crabcakes according to my co-worker who also loved the fish tacos), unusual appetizers like Portobello Caprese (grilled portobello topped with diced fresh mozzarella and tomatoes and served with garlic wedges) and Tomatoes Parmesan (breaded, fried crispy and topped with marinara and provolone).
They also have tables outside and "Big Kids" entrees which are for "adults wanting smaller portions" -- $5 or $6 for items like grilled cheese with fries, linguini and meatballs with vegetable, chicken tenders with fries. They have 17 HD TVs, 1/2 price happy hour, and a special small plates menu. They also have trivia (at least one night for cash and prizes) and music some nights. It's a one of a kind place that I hope can survive the bad economy.
(Update: Wendy and I misplaced Sonoma's. It is in the Owen Brown Village Center, not Oakland Mills.)
Sonoma's Bar & Grille
7284 Cradlerock Way
Columbia, MD 21045
NEAR: This is in the Owen Brown village center just off the piece of Brokenland Parkway between Rte 29 and Rte 32. Turn east on Cradlerock from Brokenland Parkway. That is left if you're coming from Rte 29 and right if you're coming from Rte 32.