Sonam: Zen and the art of eating

Sonam touts itself as a BYOB that “redefines global fusion and offers a new spin on small-plate trend.” I was thinking that I’ve heard that one before; many restaurants try to feed me that line, all hoping to get into my pants (to reach for my wallet). Most often the “fusion” and “spin” in these small plates leads to disaster. However, I was pleased as a pan-asian punch to find that Sonam not only delivers on that statement, but also offers a standout culinary experience.

Located off South Street near Second, Sonam’s d�cor double steps to remove you from the hustle and bustle. Warm soothing colors, wood tables, river rocks, bamboo, and ultra suede await you when you enter. Welcome to dinner; you're having it in a Zen garden.

The wild boar tartare ($7) is fantastic: Small bits of boar with a blood orange curry dressing and truffled, crispy wantons. The orange curry gives it a unique flavor that should be tried and not described.

The hamchi nachos ($7) are a play on tradition, featuring flour tortilla chips with a light avocado puree, pico oil and a small slice of fresh yellow tail.

The lamb chops and chips ($12) are lightly battered and served with a helping of sweet potato fries. Accompanied with a dollop of remoulade and a dash of malt vinegar, who wouldn’t love them?

My personal pick is the buffalo falafel ($7), Sonam’s wink towards the classic hot wing. This vegetarian-friendly delight features falafel married with gorgonzola tzatziki and celery batonets. Go ahead and order TWO servings of this fantastic plate.

Not to be outshined, the trio of seafood sliders ($13) is another plate that begs to be multiplied. Three sandwiches of golden sesame-seeded brioche buns: Crab, lobster and shrimp. Each cake wonderfully seared outside, and moist inside.

The very creative cheesesteak terrine ($12) is steak and onions as "filling" inside a ramekin, topped with light and crisp paper-thin dough and served with a hint of sharp provolone cheese and a tomato molasses. Even if you’ve grown tired of advanced and elaborate iterations of the classic cheese steak, this is a dish that will win your heart.

So for all of you new gifted gastro-nauts hungering for a daring culinary experience, I offer you Sonam. And for those of you who eschew the fanciness of modern cooking and are simply looking for classic bites and reasonable prices, I offer you Sonam as well. It’s the perfect dinner option for both of you.

SONAM BYOB, 223 South St, 215-922-3092

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