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Sofia Bistro

University Place is in for a treat

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Last week there was much lamenting regarding the lack of cool places to dine in University Place. Depending on how closely you listen to your foodie and oenophile friends, you may have just heard of Creig Kostoff’s recently opened Sofia Bistro, the West Side’s answer to this dilemma. Its upscale feel and casual comfort together with innovative new American-style cuisine (sans sauce-drowned entrees and piles of cheese), and an intelligently designed and reasonably priced wine menu, will keep neighbor Affairs Café and Bakery on its toes.

All entrees, ranging from wild mushroom and spinach rigatoni with spicy pomodoro sauce and sweet roasted garlic ($17) to skillet seared tenderloin of beef with sauce marchands de vin ($26), arrived in perfect portions with the kitchen’s nightly vegetable dish.

If it’s on the special list, begin with the Vermont clam chowder with potato chunks and maple. The sweet, extra creamy delight is my new guilty pleasure.

The other special of the night, salmon cakes, were perfectly pan-seared, with nicely crisped edges sitting on a corn-red pepper salsa.  Chef Troy Reich, who checked our satisfaction level mid-meal, thankfully doesn’t serve giant, flakey salmon cakes, but rather two cohesive, moist treats.      

  The roasted duck breast ($23) fanned over wild mushroom risotto arrived as ordered — cooked medium rare, succulent and pink. A mirabelle plum gastrique sweetly kissed it, with a plum chunk as garnish. The risotto was fresh with meaty grains.

An exotic braised lamb shank ($22) swam in cinnamon, tumerac and stewed cannelloni beans.  Hello Morroco! Hello yum!

Sofia Bistro sported a wall of wine of well-chosen reds and whites. Although short on Oregon pinots, I chose wisely — a complex 2004 Dashe Zinfandel, a Todd Brothers Ranch old vine.  The velvet first sip thankfully hangs.

The night ended with a Dashe dessert wine and delicious crème brulee, ample portion for two. — Jake de Paul

[Sofia Bistro, 2700 Bridgeport Way W., University Place, 253.460.9446]

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