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Hopmonk Tavern

Author: Julie Fadda Powers
February, 2016 Issue

Hopmonk Tavern
691 Broadway,
Sonoma(707) 935-9100
www.hopmonk.com/sonoma

American Comfort Food
Lunch and dinner daily
Entrées: $11-$23
Full bar, nice wine list

Hopmonk Tavern was first started in Sebastopol by Dean Biersch (formerly of Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group) and now has two additional locations, one each in Sonoma and Novato. Each offers a wide selection of beers on tap, made both in house and at other breweries, and each offers live music and an expansive beer garden. NorthBay biz visited the Sonoma location, which opened in 2010.

Located in a former historic residence that's had several incarnations since, it retains a homey vibe, with several dining areas and a large bar inside as well as an expansive deck and patio outdoors. There are stages both indoors and out for regularly scheduled, live music (all Hopmonk Taverns have music; check the website for details). There's all sorts of seating choices both indoors and out (the deck is tented during winter months) for both large and small parties. When we visited, it was packed with happy friends and families, and even a few dogs on the patio.

The menu ranges from appetizers to soups, salads, sandwiches and entrées, and portion sizes are generous. We ordered two beers on tap—Ballast Point Grapefruit Sculpin IPA (light body, crisp hops) and Moonlight Brewery Death and Taxes (a dark but light-bodied lager that's always been one of my favorites)—and started our meal with crispy, beer-battered calamari tossed with leeks as well as lemon and lime slices (all fried), which had great texture (not chewy) and came with lemon aioli. Next up was the cheese and fruit platter, which was piled with sliced honeydew, cantaloupe and pineapple, walnuts, crostini drizzled with balsamic, spiced chutney, crumbled feta, sliced brie, blue and manchego cheese and dried cranberries. The tavern samosas were thin and triangular, crispy and lovely, filled with curried onions, black beans, roasted peppers, pumpkin seeds and sweet corn, served with cilantro chutney—quite different than traditional Indian samosas and quite enjoyable.

Russian River Brewing Company's Pliny the Elder (citrus, hoppy, toasty with a hint of apricot) went down easy with the next few things we selected. The kale and tahini salad had lots of fresh baby kale tossed with cabbage, whole peanuts and lemon tahini dressing (with extra on the side). It was light, refreshing and filling.

From the sandwich selections, we chose grilled cheese and ham—and it was fantastic. Grilled perfect with a golden, crisp exterior (parmesan-crusted sourdough bread) spread with Dijonaisse and plenty of smoked ham as well as cheddar and gruyere inside. It came with deliciously fresh tomato soup, which we enjoyed both alone and for dipping. It went especially well with the beer.

Steamed mussels were served in a cast iron pot and had a sassy, creamy white wine broth with prosciutto, tomatoes, shallots, garlic and cilantro. They came with a pile of crisp tavern fries, which we thoroughly enjoyed. Side note: all sandwiches except the grilled cheese come with the fries, or you can substitute quinoa salad, garlic fries or sweet potato fries.

We were quite full at this point and decided to skip a traditional dessert, in favor of something from the bar. The chocotini had chocolate sauce swirled inside the glass filled with white and milk chocolate Godiva liqueurs and vanilla vodka—a lush, liquid finish.

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