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“My top pick. The wine and cheese selection are great. The small menu allows the chef to really perfect the dishes...”
Review of Sontes - CLOSED

Sontes
Price range: $15 - $30
Cuisines: International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Bar scene, Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Private Dining, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Cross street: Broadway and 3rd St SW
Description: Relax and take your time sampling our seasonally spontaneous food and extensive selection of wines and beers. We support local farmers and artisans, ensuring that we serve the freshest produce, meats and cheeses possible. Our stunning bar boasts 40 wines by the glass, served from a temperature-controlled cuvee system, and more than 100 wines by the bottle. We are here to make you feel at home, so sit back and lounge near our fireplace, belly up to the bar, or enjoy a leisurely evening in our dining room. Make a reservation by 4:00 on the day you plan to join us and receive a special treat from the chef!
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
Rochester, Minnesota
Reviewed April 18, 2008

My top pick. The wine and cheese selection are great. The small menu allows the chef to really perfect the dishes. All selections are beautifully balanced.

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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual contributor and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviews (134)
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122 - 126 of 134 reviews

Reviewed February 3, 2008

I was prompted to write this review after reading the Owner's rebuttal on these pages. I have been to Sontes on 4 occasions and have had a chance to sample a number of small plates, large plates, and deserts.

Sontes' desire to be a place to experience fine dining falls flat. As someone who has dined at all of the "fine dining" spots in Rochester and as a result consistently travels to Minneapolis or Madison, WI to eat out, I had high hopes for Sontes. It was a new concept for Rochester, they talked a big game about the quality of their wine program and the owners seemed interested in bringing quality ingredients into play.

Execution of this vision, however, never materialized. True, the decor is a welcome change from the typical Rochester restaurant. I have truly enjoyed the occasions where my wife and I ate by the fireplace in comfy overstuffed chairs. But, the decor is their only real success, when compared with the promise of what could have been.

About their wine program: Kudos to Sontes for finally realizing that good wine needs good stemware. Riedel glasses were a welcome sight on my first visit. However, as noted by other reviews, their prices and selection are problematic. While Sontes should be commended for several selections that must look strange to most Rochester diners, those selections are limited and outrageously priced. Before moving to Rochester, I worked in the wine industry, both in retail and in distribution and the owner's insistence that Sontes' wines are priced within industry standards is tremendously misleading. While technically correct (there are indeed many restaurants that will charge 4x retail), this statement implies that they price their wines fairly. On my last visit, I counted approximately 9 wines that were priced over 3.5x retail and 3-4 over 4x retail depending on which market you look at. Unfortunately this is hardly the exception and is a major problem for a restaurant that is seeking to give diners greater access to new wines. Another slight problem is their corkage policy. Initially, when I inquired about bringing a special bottle of wine from my own collection for my wife's birthday, the staff responded that this was not allowed. During another visit, I inquired again and was told that corkage would be $25/bottle...ridiculous.

I have been to other restaurant review websites where diners have complained about the price-portion size ratio. To me, this is not an issue of portion size, but of price. I am fine ordering several cheeses to sample...in fact I was overjoyed when I first heard of this option. However, at $18 for 3, I expect more than 3 small slivers, especially when one can purchase the delectable Pleasant Ridge Reserve (one of their offerings on a past visit) for around $18-20 per POUND. This sort of problem pervades their menu. They have numerous tasty options but each dish is overcharged by $2-3 vs.comparable dishes at numerous Minneapolis venues.

Overall, Sontes had the potential to be a unique dining option in Rochester...something we sorely lack. But overpriced entrees and wines leave much to be desired.

6  Thank Scractonicity
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
Reviewed January 28, 2008

Good food and atmosphere for Rochester, with NYC prices.

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A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
Reviewed January 26, 2008

excellent food choice... very good wine selection..

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A TripAdvisor reviewer on Facebook
Reviewed January 6, 2008

Awesome, Rochester needs more places like this.

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