244 East 79th Street, New York, NY, 212-537-7745 www.sojournrestaurant.com
Yum is the best way to describe a meal at Sojourn. The room is pretty, in a wine-bar sort of way, although we wished for cushier and more spacious seating. Our waitress was friendly and efficient if perhaps a bit too chatty. But, in the end, the heavenly food stands out and only half-way into our meal we were already making plans to come back.
Sojourn's concept is pseudo-tappas with local small plates meant to be shared. We became enamored of the small plate concept on a recent trip to Maine and were pleased by the options available. We chose two cold and two hot starters, one meat and one fish from the six menu groupings. An excellent Cav went down well but one of the house special cocktails, a melon martini, fell a bit flat. The two flavors didn't really blend well and just tasted like a weak vodka martini with some added melon pieces.Sojourn gets hopping after 8 pm with a lively young bar crowd in addition to the packed dining room. But, for those of us hoping for a more intimate dining experience, an earlier seating is perfect. We'll be back again...and again.
Our two cold starters were a beet and goat cheese napoleon and a summer grilled corn salad. The first created a taste explosion in our mouths that made us want to ask for another portion but both salads were exceptional.
A hot starter of pasta was delicate, with a velvety flavor. Again, we would have happily ordered more. A plate of croquettes was delicious but with a more simple taste. The cheese was, in fact, served on top but would have been more interesting blended into the dough.
Our waitress recommended the house-made ricotta cheese cake with blueberry compote for dessert so we took her up on it and were delighted. A wonderfully generous portion of cake was silky and sweet. We'd feared the fruit compote might make the dessert too sickly sweet but the chef had obviously cut back on the sugar in the topping to account for that. We also noted that the blueberries were far riper and more plump than any we've purchased this summer. We should mention that the cake's texture was very smooth, unlike traditional ricotta cheesecakes.
We noticed when we first sat down at our table that there were no salt or pepper shakers. We've recently encountered a spate of chefs whose egos were far larger than their seasoning skills so we wondered, briefly, if this would be more of the same. But happily each dish was so expertly seasoned that we wouldn't have changed a thing.
Our early plans to return to Sojourn came about the following week when, despite the high cost, we couldn't resist another taste of that food. The two salads and hot starters, the salmon and the cheesecake were all a must. We knew we'd skip those pork sliders but did decide to try the kobe beef sliders instead and were much happier. They were perfectly cooked and seasoned, the buns fresh and the accompanying fries thin and crispy.
|Red & Golden Beet Napoleon|
|Summer Grilled Corn Salad|
|Pulled Pork Sliders|