There’s a great find in the 209 for diners seeking elegance and upscale food with only the finest ingredients in what can best be described as “Modern American” fare.
Seven Sisters Restaurant, located on the third floor of the Black Oak Casino outside of Sonora, offers award-winning fine dining with top-notch service and tableside manner paying attention to even the unspoken details of guests along with offering a picturesque view of the Sierra Foothills.
Since writing the “Flavors” section for 209 Magazine from the publication's beginning just over two years ago, Seven Sisters proved itself to be one of the finest I’ve covered with its amazing menu entrées and gourmet specialties by Chef de Cuisine Joshua Woodall.
Chef Woodall, a graduate of the Columbia College School of Culinary Arts with over 20 years of experience in preparing meals for restaurants, uses only the finest ingredients for his menu items that rotate with the seasons. The restaurant menu is constantly adding specials to suit the seasons and item availability, including locally grown produce from an on-site vegetable garden.
Executive Chef Ed Wickman, who oversees and directs all food and beverage related operations on the Black Oak property, including menu development, said he sought out and recruited Woodall from the Four Seasons Hotel in the SF Bay Area two years ago.
“His expertise has brought Seven Sisters up to the next level,” Wickman said. “He can take the classic concepts and reinvent them in artistic, creative ways.”
The menu is full of a variety of specialty fresh meat dishes and seafood selections that are flown in day-to-day. Sauces, breads and desserts are prepared as labors of love by the chefs on a daily basis.
“This is a big beef town, so there’s lots of meat-and-potato concepts,” Chef Woodall said. “Coming from San Francisco, I can tell you our portions are ‘crazy big’ in comparison.”
Seven Sisters was the recipient of Wine Spectator Magazine’s Award of Excellence in 2014 and 2015. The award recognizes restaurants whose wine lists offer interesting selections, are appropriate to their cuisine, and appeal to a wide range of wine lovers. The restaurant has a wine list of over 100 varietals, by the glass or bottle, with a concentration on local wines from Tuolumne, Calaveras, and Amador counties.
The ambiance of the establishment with its slate floors, soft piped-in overhead jazz, quiet elegant décor and floor-to-ceiling windows offering a view of twilight over the Sierra foothills lined with indigenous black oak trees is first-rate. According to Restaurant Manager Kathi Ann Harvey, the outdoor veranda with flamed torch lighting is also open in the summer months and only enhances the atmosphere. A private glass enclosed dining room is also available for groups of 36, private parties and restaurant special events such as wine maker dinners.
After I was directed to a nice table in the spacious, glowing dining room, I tried Chef Woodall’s recommendation of the Hakido, Japan seared scallop appetizer and nothing about it was disappointing. Served with balsamic and a citrus crema, the starter was delicious and an explosion of flavors.
On the menu that evening was a Kobe Wagyu New York steak that Woodall spoke highly of and I did not hesitate to order it. Served with au gratin potatoes and creamed spinach, the intensely marbled steak had a slightly charred exterior and a bright pink center. In my 56 years sucking air on this planet, I can say it was one of the best, if not the best steak of my life: hauntingly tender, buttery and melting on my palate.
Other selections on the evening’s menu included Denver leg of venison, California lamb rack “Barbacoa,” speck wrapped Korobuta pork loin, Mediterranean sea bass, a bone-in ribeye, and a filet with a 14 oz. lobster tail as well as a selection of fresh pasta dishes.
Seven Sisters, named after the matriarchs of the Tuolumne Me-Wuk Tribe, has a romantic and luxury ambiance that would be great for a special occasion or dinner date. 209 Magazine readers will not be disappointed.