D.C.-made cheese is still a few months away, but in the meantime, Sona Creamery & Wine Bar has a new chef and new menu coming soon.
Chef Scott Ryan, formerly of Mockingbird Hill, started at the Capitol Hill restaurant on Tuesday. Some of the burgers will stay, but Ryan's new menu will be "more seasonal, more local" with more shareable options, says co-owner Genevieve O'Sullivan. The new dishes, which are still in development, will begin to roll out next week. The following week, Sona will also introduce entrees that will change daily in "from the land, from the sea, and from the garden" categories. Of course, you'll always be able to get cheese plates. And you can bet there will still be a mac and cheese on the menu, although the recipe may change.
The creamery itself probably won't start making cheese on-site until after the holidays—almost a year since its opening. Sona will be the city's first cheesemaking facility and will use the first raw milk the District has allowed in 60 years. Currently, O'Sullivan says she and her husband/business partner Conan O'Sullivan are currently working with the landlord on a boiler so they can pasteurize milk. The couple spent the past year working on cheesemaking regulations with the Department of Health because D.C. has no agricultural department. "We've had charcuterie places that have actually blazed a little bit of a trail for us," Genevieve O'Sullivan says. "They've written variances to specifically address the conditions you need for curing meat, which in some ways can be similar to some of the stuff we've got to do for aging cheese."
Right off the bat, Sona will be making cheddar curds and fresh goat cheese, which takes only 72 hours. The creamery also plans to produce some gouda-style cheeses, which will be aged between nine and 18 months, as well as possibly some softer, brie-like cheeses.
In the meantime, Sona offers classes that teach people how to make basic small-batch goat cheeses that don't require a professional vat. The next class is already sold out, but stay tuned for more.
Sona Creamery, 660 Pennsylvania Ave. SE; (202) 758-3556; sonacreamery.com
Photo by Jessica Sidman