Sunday, March 7, 2010

Solera (8.75)

Sometimes you run across that diamond in the rough that just doesn't quite make sense.  In a good way.  You know how they say location, location, location? I argue that Solera absolves the status quo of this cliche.

Adjacent to the neighborhood tire and lube at Colfax and Grape, Solera is a culinary oasis waiting to pounce.  Goose Sorenson's classically creative menu sort of brings you to a nostalgic place of comfort.  You know something is familiar about this place.

When you walk in, the hostess warmly welcomes you.  If it's nice out, you may be presented with the option of sitting in the dining room or on the patio.  The latter of the two is my option any day of the week.  Granted, this is only seasonally acceptable and can be easily tainted by a chance rain storm or autumn foliage. However, encased by a tall fence with large overhanging trees, you begin to feel like you're someplace in the Highlands or Park Hill rather than a business route.  This is one of the best patio spaces in Denver if you ask me.  The dining room isn't bad either, just a relatively simple white-tablecloth atmosphere. 

Getting back to the comfort thing, the food is simple and delightful.

To start, we enjoyed the Thai-Style Calamari which is lightly breaded and tossed in a rich hoisin-style sauce with mint, cilantro and peanuts. Textural contrasts with a complex flavorful kick really make this an intense appetizer.  This isn't one for the faint of heart, you definitely want to find a few friends to share this with.

Freshness is their forte. I had an enjoyably light heirloom tomato salad, with mixed greens and goat cheese.  All this one needs is a drizzle of o/v and some fresh pepper. It's history.

I send everyone the direction of the Truffle Mac and Cheese with Seared Scallops.  A creamy, rich, sharp Wisconsin White Cheddar cheese sauce balances with truffle oil, perfectly seared scallops, asparagus and peas. Not a fan of peas?  Trust me, offering both a textural contrast and fresh snap to the dish, they work here.

Different cheese and salumi options are a nice accompaniment to the meal.  Before or after, your prerogative. With the classic dressings, olives, fruits, nuts and some spicy candied pecans, you can't go wrong. The menu specifically offers a meat or cheese option, but your wish is their command if you opt for a combination of the two. More meat, less cheese or vice versa?  You name it.

A melding of classical European cuisines makes Solera one of my local favorites.  Also, in my opinion they are the best restaurant that partakes in Restaurant.com. So if you're opting for dinner (not valid for happy hour) pick one of these 25 dollar gift certificates up so you can enjoy some over-the-top accessories with your meal.  I like to snag a few oysters or something when I have one of these.

So next time you're over in the Congress Park-esque area, take it a block or two up to Colfax Terrace and enjoy what Solera has to offer. They offer a great happy hour and weekly 52.80 menu, so mix it up and take advantage of these as well.

My recommendation: Dish It Up.

Food: 9
Service: 8.5
Ambience: 8.5

Solera on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review! I've got to try the Truffle Mac and Cheese with Seared Scallops. This place is in my back yard - we've got to get there soon. Thanks Mike!

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