Out with a Bang! The Söntés New Year’s Eve Party to End All Parties!


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Out With a Bang! New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is our last night as Söntés, so we’re throwing one epic party. Join us for live music from the John Sievers Trio, complimentary champagne, crowns and hats and noisemakers galore, a balloon drop at midnight to a live performance of Auld Lang Syne, and Chef Alex’s carefully chosen 7-course menu featuring our favorite Söntés dishes over our eight-year history.

Söntés New Year’s Eve 2014 Menu

Course 1
Braised Beef Ravioli with Demi Glaze
Grilled Artichoke Ravioli with Sundried Tomato Sauce

Course 2
Chorizo Stuffed Dates, Vegetable Empanadas,
and Patatas Bravas with Tobacco Gastrique
Vegetarian Empanadas, Patatas Bravas with Tobacco Gastrique, and Brussels Sprouts with Maple and Marcona Almonds

Course 3
Beet Salad on a Bed of Greens 
with fresh fruit and blue cheese with Basil Vinegar
Lox and Bagel Salad
house-cured lox with bagel chips, market greens, cucumber, red onion, and caper vinaigrette

Course 4
Duck Cassoulet 
confit duck, giant white beans, tomatoes, Andouille sausage, and Hart Farms bacon
Spiced Chickpea and Lemon Stew
 with chickpeas, tomato, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, 
lemon juice

Course 5
Cheese from the Vault

Course 6
Petite Filet with potato pave, roasted vegetables 
and béarnaise sauce
Pan Seared Salmon
 with confit sweet potatoes and mustard glaze
Mushroom Risotto with Roasted Vegetables

Course 7
Vanilla Panna Cotta 
with berry coulis and fresh fruit
Trio of Chocolate Truffles 
spiced coco powder, smoked sea salt, Marcona almonds 

For reservations, call us today at 507.292.1628. The cost of this event is $75 per person, or $60 for the all-vegetarian option. Tax and gratuity are additional. Wine pairings that perfectly accompany the dishes are available for $30. (Söntés can accommodate Gluten-free diners with advance notice.  Please alert us when you make your reservation.)

Join us for our last and best hurrah! It’s going to be one momentous celebration!

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Söntés Will Close Its Doors January 1 to Usher In Our Next Endeavor: Grand Rounds Brew Pub


, , , , , , , , , , ,

Grand Rounds Brew PubThe news is out! Söntés is excited to share with you that we are embarking on a new partnership to bring a craft brewery to downtown Rochester. Grand Rounds Brewing Company (GRBC) will open in the spring of 2015 at our location at 4 Third Street SW. To accommodate this transition, Söntés will be closing its doors on January 1, 2015.

Grand Rounds Brew Pub (GRBP) will feature hand-crafted beer brewed on site by Master Brewer Steve Finnie and food by Executive Chef Alex Sjoberg. GRBP was born out of a love of good food, good beer, and good company with the ultimate goal of offering an authentic pub with a neighborhood feel in the heart of the city.  Chef Alex is planning a menu that unites traditional pub fare with local favorites and unique flavors. And GRBP will continue Söntés’ tradition of sourcing food locally and engaging local artists and musicians. And vinophiles, fear not: GRBP will serve wine, too!

Tessa’s Office Wine and Spirit Boutique, our wine shop co-located with Söntés, will remain open through the transition and will expand into additional square footage made available during construction of the brew pub. Sommelier Barbara Claire Pitcher will remain as the shop’s manager and resident wine expert. Many of your favorite wines from Söntés will be available for purchase at Tessa’s Office.

Söntés will continue to serve the community as a catering company under the GRBC umbrella and will continue as one of three caterers serving the Rochester Art Center as well as offering catering in-homes and at other venues in the area.

Why Grand Rounds?
Grand Rounds is a ritual of medical education consisting of presenting the medical problems and treatment. Grand Rounds involve a passion for knowledge, a passion for caring, and a meeting of the mind, all integral parts of medical education. We say: an integral part of life. Solutions to life’s troubles are often discovered over a pint, and no doubt there will be some lively discussions over a pint of Grand Rounds fine craft beer! Comfortable and unpretentious, everyone will feel welcome at GRBP. It’s a place to meet your friends for a pint, share delicious local food with your family, or celebrate the large and small events in your life.

On behalf of Söntés restaurant, we thank each and every one of you for letting us into your hearts and lives these past eight years. We are truly honored by these amazing memories and we can’t wait to welcome you into our next endeavor, Grand Rounds Brew Pub! For updates on our progress toward opening, like Grand Rounds on Facebook.

For Söntés reservations during our final weeks, please call us at 507.292.1628.

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Söntés F/WGE Presents: Artists Michele Combs, Kapril, and Lori Miller


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Söntés began gathering art from talented local artists for display and sale at the restaurant, we had no idea that five seasons later the Söntés Gallery Exhibition would be this popular or this successful!

The current Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition includes the work of eleven talented artists from our region, and will run through the end of the year. As all of the artwork is for sale, it tends to move around as it is sold and the artists bring in new pieces.

In their own words, artists Michele Combs, Kapril, and Lori Miller discuss their work and what inspires them:

Michele Combs
Combs 304382x150

Emerging into an artist was been a learning, growing, and maturing process… Painting has become a way of cataloging my life. Each painting is a small representation of what I’m drawn to, where I’ve been, and what I’ve experienced.

I’m an impressionist, landscape oil painter. I love filling my canvas with color and thick paint. Though I am drawn to a variety of subjects, my favorite subject is landscape.


Kapril DSC7562_2

Not long ago, my passion and craving for artistic expression rekindled. My joy is communicating what I see through the lens and by blending color and motion in a seamless experience that coalesces in a single image.

My fulfillment is realized in sharing these deeply personal images with other. They are the product of a long and challenging journey that I now have the privilege and opportunity of sharing. 

Lori Miller
Miller Autumn  24 x 36

Lori Miller’s art emerges from her insatiable curiosity about life and nearly palpable passion for meaningful connection and emotional intimacy with people, animals, and, at times, even the inanimate.

Her artist expressions reveal that intense curiosity and enthusiasm, but the discerning observer will see patterns that expose her deeply spiritual, sensuously contagious, and rebellious personality, punctuated by a mysterious balance of dependence and independence.

…From all things joyous, color and vibrancy can be found.

Get inspired every time you dine at Söntés through art and ambiance and amazing local fare. As always, feel free to move about the restaurant and take in all of the exceptional artwork. You may just find the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for person!  

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Home for the Holidays


, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Home for the HolidaysThere’s no place like home for the holidays. But for those of us who’ve lived away from home for many years, there’s holiday travel to consider: weather, delays, and cramped compartments and cranky travelers carrying bulky coats, bags, and gifts. Upon arrival and hugs and kisses, it dawns on you that you could really go for some hot food, a good drink, continued company with the ones you love, and of course, you need to unload all the stuff you’re carrying. Söntés is calling.

Check your coat at the door, along with the scarf and the gloves. There are fireplaces to toss off the winter chill. Check your boots if you like, and put on the indoor shoes you’re carrying in that extra bag. Check the extra bag, too. Relax and unwind, knowing you don’t have to brave Aunt Elsie’s pot roast for the third day and the suspect deviled eggs, and you don’t have to worry about washing all the dishes and trying to get the spots out of the good cloth napkins. Did you forget to get a gift for that person who has everything? Glance around: the one-of-a-kind artwork on the walls is all for sale. Where else could you shop with a glass of wine in your hand?

This holiday season, enjoy getting together with friends, family, and coworkers-turned-second-family over amazing local food where there’s something for every picky taste. Enjoy conversation while passing dishes like empanadas, chorizo dates, and gourmet cheeses back and forth before diving into lamb as you’re offered a bite of perfectly cooked scallops from the left and a bite of savory local duck breast from the right.

It’s all these little things that Söntés does so well, like offering a complimentary coat closet, a fireplace atmosphere, a knowledgeable staff to pair your wine and take care of all the details so you can let go of holiday stress and enjoy the company around you to the fullest.

This season, come home to Söntés.

Reminder: Please join us this Saturday from 11-2 for our annual Holiday Wine & Spirits Tasting and Sale! Find the perfect complement for your holiday feasts with the help of our sommelier. No need to order, take the wine home with you that same day!

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

Söntés F/WGE Presents: Artists David Allen, Margy Balwierz, and Kathy Braud


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Söntés is pleased to be a fulcrum for our region’s talented artists. The Söntés Fall/Winter Gallery Exhibition showcases an attractive mix of colors, styles, and mediums from eleven hand-chosen artists. This newest exhibition will run through April 1, 2015, and the art will move around as it is sold and the artists bring in new pieces, creating a fluidity of art and ambiance.

In their own words, artists David Allen, Margy Balwierz, and Kathy Braud discuss their work and what inspires them:

David Allen

Allen Don Quixote's Swimming PoolI have been a doodler all my life. I doodle while waiting for an appointment in class or in meetings. I constantly sketch the basic shapes we were instructed to draw as art students. Over the years these shapes have taken on a life of their own. They bend, melt, break apart, fracture and interject themselves into landscapes and rooms.

Several years ago I decided to use these doodles in my paintings and have been pleased with the results. They offer unlimited possibilities and are enjoyable to paint because they seem alive and organic to me.

Margy Balwierz

Balwierz AwarenessI am inspired by the magic of reality, the endeavor of creativity acknowledges the magnificent vibrancy, beauty and complexity of existence… Each effort at tile-making is a gift of absorbed concentration and timelessness.

The unique quality of making one tile at a time feels right to me. Coarse red clay is rolled out and cut. I etch and compose a design to fit within the framework of a nearly dry cut tile shape after one day of drying. The cut may be freeform, shaped or with a randomly lopped off corner. Glazed, each layer of color is laid three coats thick between etch lines with very small paintbrushes. After the clay becomes bone dry, it is high fired to stoneware in an electric kiln. Another glazing and firing to a low temperature adds intensity to colors. The process stretches over three to six weeks.

Kathy Braud

Braud Reflections in Color KBraud 1000px-1For me, Art has been a lifelong journey of creativity… When I realized this medium could capture the essence of a mood, a memory or describe a pleasure, I fell in love with watercolor.

I like to create drama and boldness in my paintings by playing with light and shadows. I enjoy the serendipity of mixing paint on paper, rapid spreading of color, and the use of layering and texture. I am currently exploring a path of light theme with mostly representational art, and I enjoy experimenting with acrylics, watercolor and gouache (watermedia) to capture the advantages of each medium.

For more art and local fare inspiration, stop in to Söntés for lunch or dinner, and feel free to move about the restaurant and take in all of the exceptional artwork. Our dining room is truly never the same twice!

~ Söntés Guest Blogger Jody Brown is a writer, author, poet, and traveler.

That’s What I Like About You


, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 10.58.26 AM



You know the lyrics from the song by The Romantics:

“That’s what I like about you.
You keep me warm at night.”
Et cetera. That was released in 1979. Now, it’s 2014 and we at Sontes want you to know what we like about YOU, our guests. 
No, you don’t keep us warm at night (for the most part), but you are ADVENTURERS. We keep introducing new dining and embibing experiences and you’re always open to trying new things. 
You’re LOYAL. We love seeing new faces, but it’s so great to be able to create relationships with the folks that keep coming back. We always do our darnedest to remember your preferred flavor profiles, then turn them upside-down and encourage you to broaden your horizons. 
You’re APPRECIATIVE. You enjoy our continued efforts to broaden, expand, and improve every aspect of your dining experience. You usually even say, “Thank you!” to which we reply, “It’s our pleasure!”
You’re BEAUTIFUL. Each in your own way, according to your own style, your own tastes, uniqueness, and individuality – and we appreciate unique individuals around here.

In all, THANK YOU, Sontes guests, for being YOU. You are what makes this whole endeavor so much fun, so fulfilling, and something about which we can feel truly proud!

Unplug and Unwind


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The world keeps changing around us. How can we possibly keep up with everything? Frankly, we can’t. All of the new technology, the latest health and wellness information, fitness fads, what’s good, what’s bad… Let’s face it: it’s beyond overwhelming.
On top of it all, we are inundated in perpetuity with new information. Facebook was too windy, so we found Twitter and lost our patience with 140 characters. Then there was Instagram, which told us, in a single photograph, everything that was missing from our lives. We can download apps to tell us anything we couldn’t possibly need to know and what to do in any scenario. Now, as we try desperately to keep up with all of it, we are glued to our screens. We have the perfect quip for any digital situation, but we forgot the importance of eye contact and a handshake. We no longer call our mothers. We don’t meet to go over papers. We text, we email, and we sign documents digitally. 
I guess what I’m trying to say is that maybe it’s time to disconnect from our devices and reconnect with some humans. In person. Maybe over a glass of wine and a shared plate with some live music on a Saturday night. Come see us!
Screen shot 2014-07-21 at 10.46.49 AM 

Come As You Are


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


So often, people ask us, “Do you have a dress code?” There is a long answer and a short answer. The short answer is YES. 

The long answer is: we won’t let you in if you’re naked.
Here is a list of acceptable Sontes attire: 
  • Business dress
  • Casual dress
  • Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Skirts
  • Dresses
  • Sundresses
  • Sandals
  • Pumps
  • Tennis shoes
  • Flip flops
  • Sweat pants
  • Sweatshirts
  • Team jerseys
  • T-shirts
  • Tank tops
  • Swim trunks
  • Hula hoops
  • Gym clothes
  • Yoga pants
  • Baggy pants
  • Tight pants
  • Ties
  • Pocket squares
  • Articles of clothing made from bandanas tied together at the ends
  • Hats
  • A garbage bag
  • Halloween costumes, to include scary masks
  • A cape
  • Sarongs
  • A trench coat with nothing under it (providing the sash remains tied)
  • Bowling shirts
  • Long sleeves
  • Short sleeves
  • No sleeves
  • Cut-offs
  • Chaps (but don’t get carried away)
  • Shants (one leg shorts, one leg pants)
  • Helmets
  • Hat and/or helmet hair
  • No hair
  • Big hair
  • Facial hair
  • Potato sacks
  • Bunny slippers
  • Wall clocks on thick chains a la Flava Flav
In other words, Rochester, come as you are. We love you even at your ugliest!
<– To be clear, this is totally acceptable attire for adults and children alike.

We Are Not a Fancy People


, , , , , , , , , ,

Over the years, we have received a moderate amount of feedback regarding our tablecloths. Yes, world, the Sontes tables do wear white tablecloths – all day, every day. Why would we do such a thing? Is it because we are so fancy? Contrary to popular belief, the answer is a resounding “no!” 

Our tables are clothed for more than simply the sake of appearance. Yes, we do find them pleasing to the eye. And yes, they do have certain elegance about them. The real reason is that it significantly more sanitary than the alternative. Consider this: most restaurants use a cloth soaked in a sanitary solution to wash the tables clean between guests. How many tables has that cloth cleaned? What percentage of bacteria does the solution actually kill? How effectively are the servers or bus people using the cloths? Did they miss a spot? Is that the spot on the table that my 1 year old is sure to lick halfway through his mac & cheese? Is it the spot where I will drop a dollop of house sauerkraut from my Reuben sandwich at lunch? 

I’ll tell you what: when I drop a dollop of ‘kraut on a freshly squeegeed wooden tabletop, I will cry tears of mourning and curse myself for being foolhardy and wasteful. When I drop it on the white linen tablecloth, I will sneak glances right and left, then scoop it off the tablecloth and directly into my mouth with nary a second thought. Why? Because that tablecloth is mine. It’s just a giant napkin, guys and gals. You needn’t fear it. 

…..And seriously, folks, we are just a friendly neighborhood joint with creative food and outstanding service. Stop trying to impress us. We wear jeans on our time off, too.

Mango Rum Pork Chops from Chef Alex


, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

photoEnjoy your 4th of July barbeque with this recipe from Söntés Head Chef Alex Sjoberg. “This recipe is great for summer because it’s not heavy, creamy, or saucy,” he says. “Pork chops leave you feeling satisfied and yet ready for outdoor activity.”

You can change up the ingredients however you like. But you know how we cook at Söntés: Fresh is always best!

Juice from 2 limes
1/4 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon honey (try local Ames Farm honey)
1 chopped shallot
1 chopped garlic clove
1 chopped jalapeño (seeds removed)
¼ cup Gosling’s Black Seal Bermuda Black Rum (the rum is optional, and is available in Tessa’s Office for about $20/bottle)

Mango Salsa:
1-2 cored, chopped mangoes (or try melon or ½ a pineapple)
Juice from 1 lime
1 diced tomato
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ of a small jalapeño, diced
½ of a red onion, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
4 bone-in, center-cut pork chops (visit Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe for great cuts)

In a bowl, combine the marinade ingredients, then transfer them to a lidded container or a large Ziploc bag. Add the pork chops, seal the container, and marinate over night in the refrigerator (or a minimum of 3 hours).

The next day, remove the pork chops from their marinade and grill them over medium-high heat, approximately 8-12 minutes for ¾” thick chops. Turn them over once, halfway through cooking. Pork today is very lean and doesn’t need to be overcooked. Use a meat thermometer if you like: the interior temp should be between 145-160 degrees F.

After removing from heat, let the pork chops rest 10 minutes before plating or slicing into them. (Resting can be done anywhere from 5-10 minutes for this dish.) At Söntés, we have a platform above the grill for resting meat. The heat rising from the grill helps to keep the meat warm, but not hot enough to interfere with the resting process. Resting cooked meat allows the juices inside to settle and redistribute evenly throughout the meat, so that they don’t run out when you slice into the pork chop.

Says Chef Alex, “Those juices are where most of the flavor lies. Resting the meat can feel like an agonizing step when you just want to dive right in, but it’s essential. No slicing before it’s time.”

Finally, arrange the rested chops on a platter and spoon the salsa over them. Serve these alongside your favorite BBQ dishes.photo-2

For an added treat, pair this dish with a bottle of the Drew Pinot Noir ($20), the Landskroon Chenin Blanc ($10), or the New Planet Blonde gluten-free beer ($2/bottle) from Tessa’s Office!


Beginning in July, please welcome Laura Swenson Larson, a former Söntés server many of you will remember, as our Söntés blogger. In true Söntés fashion, Laura was inspired by her time at the restaurant to start her own business, Design Tartare.

Jody Brown
will be headed home to Pittsburgh to write her second novel. She will return from time to time as a guest blogger.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 95 other followers