The first time I entered --bombarded by boots, pictures of farm animals and yes, actual saddles--I was surprised. For some reason, I was expecting a modern fine dinning room, but at Saddles, you're officially on the prairie.
I arrived to a bustling-packed restaurant around 7 p.m; by 8 p.m. - the place was dead. The patrons seemed to be of a specific generation--a very loyal crowd. I was the youngest person around by at least a decade, but didn't let that deter me from my mission.
A few years ago, when I moved to Sonoma from New York, everything was new and exciting. One afternoon, after a long day of strolling around the Plaza I strolled into a rather established winery for some local recommendations. After sampling some mass-produced wine, I started a conversation with an interesting gentleman.
His story began in childhood: he'd been raised in New York City’s luxurious Plaza Hotel during the depression. It seemed like he'd lived nine uniquely dynamic lives.
For the sake of this article, let's call him Bob. He was extremely interesting, credible and most of all, passionate about his favorite restaurant, .
It was my first Sonoma restaurant recommendation, and after a few years of living here I've finally made it in.
Saddles isn’t necessarily for me, but it's perfectly tailored to Bob. Everyone in there is named Bob, and after this experience I can’t wait to be Bob.
The food is familiar, heavy on American classics and focused on high quality beef: hearty, decadent flavors from the 80s. Saddles is a food time capsule; that’s why all the Bob’s love it. They come because it’s familiar--the steaks are juicy, and of a predicable quality and quantity. Inside the dining room all the Bobs are laughing, one louder than another.
Saddles isn’t what I thought it would be but it is exactly what it is: a hotel restaurant, a lounge with great service and a comfortable location that's perfect for familiarizing yourself in a new town.
Saddles, MacArthur Place, 29 East MacArthur St. Breakfast 7 a.m. - 10 a.m. daily; Lunch, Wednesday - Sunday, 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Dinner, Wednesday - Sunday, 5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Happy Hour every evening from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., with martini, wine and beer specials; discounted appetizers.