Update: Sonder will relocate to Rhinebeck in early 2022.
Sonder is small. Really small. The narrow, white-washed space seats only about a dozen people during COVID times. The staff is just three people: Chef/Owner Daniel Bagnall, Clyde Woodstock, and Rachel Hodes. The music’s ever-so-slightly too loud. The natural wines and vegetable-forward plates are excellent.
After six years cooking with The Oberon Group, which operates hip Brooklyn spots, including June Wine Bar, 30-year-old Bagnall found himself at a career crossroads. “The goal was to open a restaurant by the time I was 30, and I’d kind of given up,” he recalls. “The pandemic hit, I left the city and came up [to the Hudson Valley]. I was walking up and down Hudson, and this space was for rent. I just texted the number, started doing the math, and dove headfirst into this insane little project.”
The all-natural wine list features roughly 30 wines. “Basically, I pick things that excite me,” says Bangall. “The biggest thing is geography. I want to feature wines from Greece, the Czech Republic, Austria, Slovenia, Slovakia, Mexico…” For by-the-glass drinkers, pick a style and go with whatever Sonder is pouring, like Catalonian skin-contact wine, a slightly chilled French red, or rosé pet-nat from Slovenia. “We want people to trust us,” explains Bangall. “We’ll open bottles sometimes that are $80 or $90 because we want to share them with people.”
But, you could not drink at all and still thoroughly enjoy Sonder. Order a seemingly simple smashed cucumber salad, for example, and you’ll be treated to craggy, crunchy pieces that catch a magic elixir of nutty Seed + Mill tahini, honey-infused Catskill Provisions cider vinegar, and sweet currants. On the same visit, charred corn came with dollops of silky corn pudding and tangy pickled shallots, while half moons of delicata squash sat atop a swoosh of addictive, slightly bitter burnt-garlic aioli.
Meat eaters can order thin links of lamb merguez sausage that spill their fragrant juices onto slices of brown-butter-soaked house-made focaccia, the whole mess topped with a refreshing tangle of celery and green apple.
Going forward, Sonder will also expand to do more guest-chef dinners and themed pop-up nights. But for now, the focus is on surviving the pandemic. “I’m trying to be really pragmatic,” says Bagnall. “I want to make it through winter. We have no idea what’s going to happen. We’re just crossing our fingers, squirreling away as much money as we can, and hoping that our landlords are helpful.”
610 Warren St, Hudson; www.sonderhudson.com
Open Tues–Sat, 3–10 p.m.