Park 121 Cafe Grill Market at Cornerstone Gardens, Sonoma

When my mother was here for a visit, we ventured out to the Sonoma countryside to enjoy the beautiful scenery and the wine. Of course this had to include some lunch in our travels, so we stopped by the Park 121 Cafe for a bite to eat.

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The restaurant has a very interesting interior. The walls are painted green and there are all kinds of fans mounted on the walls on a pulley system tethering them together. The main bar and serving area is done in a rustic wood cladding, and the lighting has that retro feel. It amounts to a pleasant space to dine. They also have a nice but small patio with tables under umbrellas. That day it was busy and those tables were taken, so we had to sit inside.

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The menu includes salads, sandwiches and small bites, along with a couple of pasta dishes and some empanadas. I would say that despite the sound, the menu leans towards gourmet fare rather than the average offerings. They also serve wine and cocktails.

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We weren’t hugely hungry so we just ordered a variety of their sandwiches. My mother ordered the chicken and chipotle sandwich but substituted the croissant for sliced bread. I ordered the special skirt steak sandwich with zinfandel barbecue sauce and grilled onions. Our dining companion ordered the vegetarian sandwich.

The service was good, our waitress was quick with water, drinks and menus. She seemed pleasant enough, and knew what the specials of the day were.

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When our food came, it all looked very appetizing. My steak sandwich was definitely a knife and fork dish with the barbecue sauce dripping down the plate. Honestly, it was just ok. The meat was slightly tough, and the barbecue sauce flavor was nothing that made me go WOW. The salad was fresh and nicely done with carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers. I liked the dressing they put with it.

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My mother seemed happy with her choice, although for me the chicken was overcooked and a bit dry. The flavors of the sandwich worked well however, so she was satisfied. She too had the same salad as I did, and she enjoyed the freshness of the dish.

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Our friend who ordered the vegetarian sandwich was less excited. She said that although the veggies were grilled they were lacking in flavor and it tasted dry and unappealing. I did try her dish and had to agree with her. It was flat and could have been so much better. Again, the same salad garnish was on her plate and she enjoyed that part.

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We did order dessert to share. We ordered the cheesecake brownie with caramel sauce and whipped cream. It was nicely plated and very appetizing to look at, but it really missed out on being something yummy. I was satisfied with one bite.

The price of the food was very good, the sandwiches costing between $10.00 and $13.00. Whilst I wasn’t wowed with the food at Park 121 cafe, the entire experience was good overall.

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