Pierre Bader, owner, and Tim Groody, chef, have stuck together through three locations, economic ups and downs, and seemingly endless construction. Yet Sonoma continues to be one of the coolest restaurants in town. Groody is intense about his food, and he employs local and organic ingredients to their fullest potential in luscious dishes like Baucom's Best Short Ribs with caramelized sweet potatoes, collards, and portobello jus. Bader loves wine and making sure that you're having a good time. Together, they work.

Sonoma on the Cheap
With a dinner menu on which entrées tend to end up in the high twenties, Sonoma's Steak House Special of a salad, beef filet with a starch and green, and ice cream for dessert, is a great way to get more bang for your buck. For a broader selection, try the five-course tasting menu for $40 -- or $50 with wine.

200 N. Tryon St., 704-332-1132,

Categories: Feature, Food + Drink, Restaurants & Food