Chapter Two
of the Fabulous Story of Michael Militello and Vincent Carrierre

by Joseph H. RADDER

Militello&Carriere.jpg (11397 bytes)
Michael Militello and Vincent Carriere.

Vincent Carriere has cooked for every president of the United States since Jimmy Carter. He has cooked for Prince Charles and Princess Diana. He has cooked for the Pope. And now, western new Yorkers can enjoy his food expertise at a number of venues, including the Sonoma Grille.

In 2003 Vincent and Michael Militello opened the Sonoma Grille at 5010 Main Street in Snyder adjacent to the Lord Amherst Hotel, where the Youngmann Expressway (I-290) meets Main Street (route 5).

"We feature a fusion of Northern California and Mediterranean cuisine," Carriere explained. Based on his many years of experience in the best restaurants of France and Spain, and his knowledge of the best the Sonoma wine country of California has to offer, the Sonoma Grille features unusual and delicious appetizers like escargot lollipops and crostini de polenta which the menu describes as grilled corn meal polenta, topped with roasted garlic concasser, Italian parsley, and flash-broiled with romano cheese.

The list of entrees reveals the same kind of creative cuisine. Examples include the Sonoma Grille's signature duck leg confit, paired with a crispy-skinned breast over a cassoulet of cannelini beans. And sautéed veal noisettes with pan-prepared sauce charcutiere over vegetable spaghetti. For the more basic tastes there are center cut filet mignon, lamb shank osso bucco, and chicken supreme. These are just a few of the many tantalizingly tempting items on Sonoma's menu

There are unusual salads too, like slow-roasted beets with gorgonzola. Beets are thinly-sliced and sprinkled with toasted walnuts and crumbled bleu cheese accented with field greens and white truffle oil. Perhaps surprisingly, there are grilled pizzas, pasta, and even a signature burger for the lighter appetite.

Carriere points out that the Sonoma Grille has five dining rooms. The high energy bar area seats 50, the Sonoma Grille Bistro seats 60. Private dining room Sonoma XO seats 30, and the restaurant's two banquet rooms are the Sonoma Cellars and Sonoma Reserve, seating up to 130 people. For larger parties, Sonoma caters them at the Tralf in downtown Buffalo. Yes, catering is also a Sonoma Grille specialty.

Asked to tell us more about the name Sonoma, Vincent Carriere told us "When we buy lamb, we buy Sonoma lamb, from the Sonoma valley in northern California. Goat cheese comes from Sonoma and a lot of our wine comes from the Sonoma valley as well." These great tastes, combined with those of the Mediterranean countries, especially Italy's Tuscany, Spain, and France, are what give the Sonoma Grille its unique cuisine. Summertime means diners can enjoy Sonoma's delightful outside café, where live music is featured every Friday evening.

As noted last month, Vincent Carriere has a passion for freshness. Only the freshest foods will pass his muster. Fresh seafood, fresh meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh coffee. No wonder that everything at the Sonoma Grille tastes so good

Joseph H. Radder is a freelance writer.

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