Sonata’s Restaurant brings the “food is life” philosophy to Scottsdale, concentrating on real, fresh and in-season ingredients combined with modern techniques and meticulous attention to detail. Sonata’s executive chef presents “art on the plate,” featuring global flavors while introducing the traditional dining style of Europe to guests at every meal.
The modern European restaurant is family owned and operated, with Lithuanian-born namesake Sonata Molocajeviene Tuft’s own recipes serving as inspiration for the menu’s innovative interpretation of traditional Old World dishes. Sonata’s son, COO Deividas Molocajevas, developed the restaurant’s stunning and upscale environment, which has been acutely designed to meld a luxurious yet comforting atmosphere that ensures guests feel right at home when they walk through the door. The interior features decadent dining space as well as a private group dining area, while the inviting patio has been recently transformed into a lush garden environment. From intimate groups to large private events and celebrations, Sonata’s Restaurant is happy to cater to guests every need.
We invite you to dine with us, drink with us and become part of our family at Sonata’s Restaurant.
Sonata Molocajeviene Tuft
Lithuanian-born Sonata Molocajeviene Tuft has traveled the world, but now calls Paradise Valley home. However, she feels that the Scottsdale dining scene is missing something — authentic European food. “Before if I wanted a taste of home, I would have to spend all day cooking. I figured other people are missing out on the tastes of the world, too. So why not bring some European flavors to Scottsdale?” With her own arsenal of classic Lithuanian recipes, she helped the Chef create European comfort food — with an American twist and some Scottsdale flair. As the restaurant’s owner and namesake, Sonata’s portrait graces the restaurant as does much of her style influences, but the beautiful redhead notes her husband’s business skills, Deividas’ (her son) education and worldly personality, and the experience of the rest of the development team as the keys to the future success of the restaurant. “We’re introducing people to ethnic dishes that are high quality, organic, healthy and creative,” she says.
Deividas Molocajevas, COO and Chief Designer is described as analytical, driven and good humored, the restaurateur found his calling almost by accident. As he earned his degree in Healthcare Management at a university in Chicago, he and his family got to know Andrew and Laura Bucas while dining at their restaurants in Chicago. Deividas convinced them to come out West to help him introduce Scottsdale to the best of Old World European Cuisine. His background in construction has come in handy guiding the restaurant through the remodel, and his passion for interior design is evident throughout the restaurant. When he’s not working around the clock at Sonata’s, you’ll find Deividas modeling, exercising, producing music, traveling and juicing— though preferably not cleaning the juicer. One of his priorities is his family as he wouldn’t be who and where he is without them!
Erwan Ehanno serves as Sonata’s Restaurant’s General Manager. In his role, Ehanno is dedicated to bringing local diners an unparalleled modern European menu with a global twist, while also elevating the level of service that customers have come to expect from Sonata’s Restaurant.
In collaboration with COO Deividas Molocajevas, Ehanno further enhances and develops the company’s vision to become Scottsdale’s premier fine dining and entertainment destination. With his professional guidance, he has assisted in the further development of Sonata’s menus, expanded the already-popular brunch and led the enhancement initiative to include more private dining options for groups and parties.
By ensuring guests have an experience that mimics the Eastern European traditions that the Sonata’s family grew up with while also treating them to the upscale environment and familiar American comforts that they know and love, Ehanno says, “We are bringing new standards and a higher-end experience to Sonata’s diners — when it comes the quality of both our food and our presentation.”
Ehanno comes to Sonata’s from Patina Restaurant Group, where he spent 10 years training other general managers for some of the country’s finest restaurants from New York to Los Angeles.
Will Simpson comes to Scottsdale by way of Washington D.C., where he was raised. But the German-born bar director for Sonata’s Restaurant has also lived in Europe and Miami, where, in addition to D.C., he garnered much of his experience and inspiration for his creative cocktail menu.
Though Simpson had wanted to be a chef since the age of five, as he navigated his way through culinary school, he realized that becoming a chef was not his path. Nor were other careers he had dabbled in — including business development, behavioral health, independent film marketing and even a stint in the seminary. “I thought I wanted to be a priest because I’ve always wanted to help people,” says Simpson. “But, I’ve never felt more fulfilled in any career than I do now.”
Simpson’s creative cocktails are inspired by sweets, one of his own weaknesses. “I love pastries and sugar, and balancing sweet with other flavors,” says Simpson. “I like to go beyond the box and implement more creativity in my creations. When I started out, there weren’t a lot of craft cocktail bars at the time. I had to carve my own path.”
At Sonata’s Restaurant, Simpson continues to go beyond the typical or traditional cocktails, not just with flavors but also scents, aromas, and snacks that complement the alcohol’s flavor. “It’s about so much more than what you taste; we want to engage our guests as much as possible with their cocktail experience utilizing bitters, aromatics, fresh herbs, tinctures, perfumes and smokes that are geared to hit as many senses as possible with every sip.”
Stop into Sonata’s to meet Will and enjoy one of his beyond-the-box craft cocktails. By the way, when he’s not behind the bar, Will enjoys the classics — sazerac, gin and tonic, or a really great bourbon on the rocks.
Vincent Contreras serves as the Executive Chef for Sonata’s Restaurant, bringing with him more than 20 years of professional culinary experience at some of the country’s top foodie destinations including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Contreras began his career path in the food industry in Phoenix, and his hometown is more than happy to welcome him back — at the helm of Sonata’s kitchen.
Contreras cut his teeth in the valley culinary scene working in local kitchens because he “wanted to be able to afford a motorcycle,” he jokes. As his love for cooking developed, his brother encouraged him to go to culinary school to become a trained chef. “He inspired me by telling me that if you want to be really good at something, you need the proper training.” So Contreras sought out just such training, attending the California Culinary Academy and then going on to work alongside famed chefs such as brothers Joseph and Thomas Keller, and James Beard Award-winning chefs Luciano Pellegrini and Alex Stratta. His career also took an international turn when Contreras worked for Club Med. This travel influenced Contreras’ experience with classic French, Italian, Spanish and Asian cuisines, which he is incorporating into Sonata’s modern European menus. “We’re intently focused on the guest experience at Sonata’s, based on meticulous attention to detail when it comes to using the finest ingredients and creating dishes that are simplicity at its best and presented in a visually artistic way,” says Contreras. Sonata’s new menus, based on Contreras’ influences, are designed to be sharable, bringing people together during their dining experience. “We are dedicated to an unpretentious yet refined and relatable approach to globally inspired cuisine.”
Andrew and Laura Bucas
Restaurateur duo Andrew and Laura Bucas opened their first restaurant, Grand Dukes, in 2005, and six years later opened their second, Old Vilnius Café in the Darien suburb of Chicago. Both have since been visited by Lithuanian celebrities, including the president, and often receive accolades from the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times. While Laura jokes she likes to stay “behind the scenes” as Sonata’s accountant, her design elements are very prominent throughout the restaurant, as she and Deividas worked closely together to fine tune the glamorous décor at Sonata’s. Meanwhile Andrew’s influences are prevalent on the menu, where he has worked with Local Area Chefs to creative a unique menu indicative of many European cuisines as well as healthy and organic juice combinations for Restart Bar. He also brought the idea for Sonata’s Hangover Soup with him from Chicago — we’re not asking whether he knows from personal experience if the soup really does its job.