Though we might wish otherwise, America seems less of a melting pot these days and more like a chopped salad. So when a restaurant in Scottsdale proudly defines itself as “modern European and American,” while touting Old World Lithuanian, German, Polish, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Russian, Spanish, French and Irish influences, it seems nothing short of preposterous. Heck, if humanity can’t make it work, how can we expect all these conflicting countries to meld on a plate?
Sonata Molocajeviene Tuft strove for that lofty goal by opening a namesake restaurant. Tuft, who originally hails from Lithuania, handed recipes to Arizona local Josh Bracher, who promptly began researching the types of European cuisine the executive chef likely never prepared in large quantities (though he was properly trained at Arizona Culinary Institute and in the kitchens of Posh, Tanzy and Second Story Liquor Bar). What emerged was a menu both familiar and curious, sprinkled with standards for those who refuse to eat anything they cannot pronounce. Even the cocktail menu offers four variations of a Moscow Mule for those who dare to dabble.
Before sharing details about what our meal entailed—and in the interest of full disclosure—know my ancestry traces back to Russia and Poland, not China, and only my diet had German influence—despite what the byline might suggest. The first order of business at Sonata’s was to eschew anything that might cause a visceral reaction (like borscht and pickled herring). Secondly, we would skip over anything that sounded contrary to the theme—octopus, pate, foie gras, oxtail and smoked pork belly confit, for example—and instead opt for items with DNA linkage.
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