'All that glitters in not gold' unless it has the midas touch of Priyanka Chopra Jonas to it. In another first, actor, international icon and all round bon vivant Priyanka Chopra Jonas has finally opened the doors to her much-anticipated restaurant in New York City – Sona. The actor associated with NY-based entrepreneur Maneesh Goyal and restaurateur David Rabin to set up this upscale eatery. The kitchen is helmed by Chef Hari Nayak who previously launched Alchemy in Bengaluru and JHOL in Bangkok. The restaurant is a modern interpretation of a classic neighbourhood French brasserie.
Goyal and Chopra Jonas met in New York, during the actor’s Quantico days. The seeds of the restaurant project were sown in early 2019, because Goyal and Chopra Jonas both felt that The Big Apple did not have an Indian restaurant that delivered great desi fare albeit with a fun twist to it. After a year’s pandemic-caused delay, Chopra Jonas announced the opening of Sona on her Instagram on March 26, 2020—and as expected, the internet has exploded. In an Instagram post, she said, “What started as a simple craving for great Indian food has become this labour of love, and I can't wait to welcome you all in, and for you to experience timeless India in the heart of NYC.” She also revealed that the restaurant was christened Sona by her husband, Nick Jonas. The word had stuck with him from their wedding celebrations in India.
Located in the Flatiron, Sona’s décor is influenced by Mumbai’s Art Deco stretch with blush-toned Venetian plaster walls, vintage bistro chairs, marble-topped bars, hand-embroidered table lamps, and art-deco wall sconces. The restaurant also has an association with Sunderlande Art Agency, where the artwork within the eatery will change every few months—the biggest highlight of this is the fact prominent Indian artists will be featured on the walls. There is also a private dining space in the restaurant named Mimi, after Chopra Jonas’ nickname.
A restaurant is just a hollow shell if its soul—the food—is missing. Chef Hari Nayak has come up with a menu, which will excite New York. The menu is full of classic Indian dishes, a lot of it is influenced by Chef Nayak’s Mangalorean roots, but with a refreshing and modern spin. From the opposite of the spectrum of greasy and heavy bowls of indistinct curries, Sona will serve its guests a modern Indian avatar of classics such as goat cheese and spinach samosa, Gruyere cheese dosa, dahi kachori and kofta korma. Crab puri and caviar is Chef Nayak’s take on Mumbai’s famous crab dish, Butter Pepper Garlic Crab. To get the party started, Chopra Jonas takes credit for the Golgappa Shots. If you’re one with an adventurous bent of mind, Sona will serve pani puri with masala pani spiked with vodka or tequila.
However, we are most excited about Chef Hari Nayak’s dish, which is an homage to late chef Floyd Cardoz, Floyd’s Goan Fish Curry. Chef Cardoz’s restaurant Table was also situated in the Flatiron district.