Review: Sona NYC

I was super excited to try Sona NYC ever since Priyanka Chopra made the announcement a couple of weeks ago! To know that Chef Harish Nayak would be running it, was an added bonus! I remember reading one of his books many years ago.

We got a reservation for 5:15PM on a Friday evening. It was a chilly evening, so outdoor dining wasn’t an option. They did seem to have some tables outdoors though. We reached about 15 mins late (Thanks to the Holland Tunnel traffic!). Temperatures were taken and we were reminded that the tables are reserved for 1.5 hours. We were greeted by our server who was a pleasant gentleman with a cheerful disposition!

Knowing we had lost 15 mins already, we got straight to business 😉 We got started on a Spicy Chilli Margarita for me and a West Bengal Buck for him. The Spicy Chilli Margarita was exactly what it was supposed to be – it looked and tasted amazing! The West Bengal Buck though was a delightful surprise! I absolutely loved it. The hint of coconut & basil was so well balanced and quite refreshing!

We started off with the Golgappa shots – the tequila and the vodka, both. I loved the attention to detail – that sprinkle of colour coding to identify the tequila avocado from the vodka beets was quite impressive. The two had very distinct flavor profiles but if I had to pick favorites, and purely based on creativity and flavor, I’d pick the tequila avocado! The only suggestion I have is to add one more golgappa for the amount of the liquid in the shot glass. Essentially, it would have been nice to serve 2 golgappas with that 1 shot.

For apps, we got:

ROCK SHRIMP KOLIWADA Popcorn Style Fritters, Mango Pickle Aioli

STUFFED CHICKEN WINGS Tangra Masala, Meyer Lemon Dip

CALCUTTA MUTTON CUTLET Black Pepper Onion Jam

PINK SNAPPER CEVICHE Kokum Coconut Broth, Jalapeno, Crispy Ginger

The boys ate the Tangra Stuffed Chicken wings and they loved the stuffing, esp. the pairing with the Meyor Lemon dip. This one gets a 5/5!

IMO the star dish was the Calcutta Mutton Cutlet! I have stopped eating meat but the Mutton cutlet was presented so beautifully with that thin crisped sliced onion on top that I couldn’t resist a taste. If you’ve ever had a good galwati kebab, you know what to expect. This dish was pure perfection – melt in your mouth with just the right amount of spices and the black pepper jam with the cutlet made the dish truly phenomenal!

The Rock Shrimp Koliwada was deep fried to a crispy perfection! It paired so well with our drinks. I liked that it was a sizable portion, so one could literally snack on them like popcorns! It lives up to it’s description.

The Pink Snapper Ceviche was a 100% on flavor. This dish makes you nostalgic and every bite is like a vacation in itself. It’s like the Modern Indian -a world explorer grounded in her roots. My only pet peeve was the texture of the fish – it could have been more melt in the mouth. I’d still recommend it for its flavors!

So far so good. The apps were not heavy – a sign of great cooking techniques and quality ingredients! We were ready for more!

Our mains were:

FLOYD’S GOAN FISH CURRY Coconut Clam Broth, Kokum, Red Rice

BLACK PEPPER SHORT RIB Bone Marrow Korma, Hen of the Woods Chili Fry, Appam

CRISPY GARLIC CRAB RICE Masala Rice, Jumbo Lump Crab

I was in a fix – to order the Banana leaf wrapped green pepper grilled halibut or the Goan Fish Curry. I went for Chef Floyd’s Goan Fish curry. I was so happy to see that they served it with traditional Kerala Matta rice. I love creativity with traditional elements to it. I wanted to love this dish but, it didn’t entirely live up to my expectations. The fish was more firm than I would have liked it to be and the curry itself had some of the rawness from the spices. I could have done with a little bit more curry than what was served.

My 11 year old had the Black Pepper short rib korma and he enjoyed it very much with one appam. I didn’t taste it but he was very happy with his choice and finished his plate clean.

The crispy garlic crab rice was another star dish! The flavor and texture of the rice reminded me of a good Lucknowi biryani which is usually very unassuming and simple but so full of flavor. The crispy garlic bites made it even more enjoyable for a garlic lover like me.

Dessert:

GAJAR HALWA Carrot Cake, Pistachio Crumb, Ginger Frozen Yogurt (not photographed)

I regret not having clicked a photo of this delectable dessert.

We were conscious of having overshot our time there (though they were polite enough to not remind us at all), so we rushed through the dessert. And I am so happy we tried it! It was delightful!

It was like an invitation to the rest of the world to come have a taste of the rich Indian desserts and break stereotypes of them being overly sugar laden. Luring them with the familiar (the carrot cake) and taking them through the rich flavors of the carrot halwa while delicately balancing it with the frozen yogurt.

Overall, SONA was a delicious experience. I’d rate it a 4/5. I take off the point because I think they have every making of a 5/5 experience, but it’s not there yet. I wish them all the best and would love for them to thrive!

We are definitely going back again (on another special occasion) to try out some of the other dishes on the menu including the Green pepper, banana leaf grilled halibut and the grilled octopus. have a feeling that the biryanis are going to be amazing too! 🙂

My recommendations:

Tequila avocado & Beet vodka golgappa shots

West Bengal Buck & Spicy Chilli Margarita (For drinks)

Calcutta mutton cutlet

Stuffed chicken wings

Pink Snapper Ceviche

Crispy Garlic Crab Rice

Gajar halwa