We’ve reviewed Sòlo in its prior incarnation (here, and here), so why are we reviewing it again? Sòlo (550 Madison Avenue; New York, NY 10022; Telephone: 212.833.7800 – in the atrium of the SONY building), has reinvented itself as a dairy restaurant. We liked it as a meat eatery, now it changed… We had more than enough confidence in Prime Hospitality Group‘s Corporate Chef David Kolotkin so we decided to give it a try and see what a former meat restaurant turned dairy could do…
SYR had an out of town guest, whose home cooking is the stuff legends are made of (I should know, I’ve stayed in their guest house many a time over the years!), and she came with me. We chose a busy time, on a busy night, with last minute reservations to best test the service. As soon as we were assigned a table, we found ourselves in the able hands of Eka Halim, waiter extraordinaire!
We started our repast with Fritto Misto all’ Italiana, an assorted plate of rice balls, potato croquettes, eggplant and zucchini served with a trio of unique dipping sauces. The tastes were subtle yet definite, the sauces, rather than overpowering, introduced nice variations; we both loved it!
We segued with Big Eye Tuna Tartare - a raw big eye tuna, local farmed apples, roasted pine nuts, marinated in a red wine vinaigrette, served chilled – and Branzino Carpaccio…
…it consisted of raw, thinly sliced white fish, citrus salt and capers, drizzled with an artisanal imported Italian olive oil and squeezed lemon.
Both were scrumptious; it was obvious the combination of ingredients was done with as much attention, as much focus on the final result, as the old master painters of the Renaissance put into the mixing of their colors!
Next we tried Eggplant Parmeggiana, slow baked alternating layers of eggplant with tomato sauce, parmesan and daily homemade mozzarella. Every ingredient shone on its own as well as a member of a well choreographed ballet on my palate. Wooow!
Before trying the pastas we had a Warm Goat Cheese Salad, with hazelnut crusted goat cheese croquette, arugula, roasted beet medley, caramelized local market pears, haricots verts drizzled with a red wine vinaigrette. Superbly balanced flavors. We segued into Rigatoni alla Carbonara Vegetariana…
The rigatoni pasta came with with zucchini, garden basil, imported pecorino romano cheese, eggs, cracked black pepper and cream. Richly flavorful!
We followed with Homemade Truffle & Butternut Squash Ravioli, with truffle Parmesan sauce and sliced black truffle…
…the Parmesan sauce gave it all a superb taste without overpowering anything else!
Risotto al Pesto was Chef David’s next choice for us…
This delicate, aromatic risotto came with fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, pine nuts and haricot verts. Excellent, is an understatement!
Fettucini alla Puttanesca came next….
Fresh homemade fettuccine with imported olives, capers, garlic and grape tomatoes, t’was a true masterpiece in taste and in looks.
Penne alla Vodka was our next dish…
It came with tomato sauce, onions, cherry tomatoes and romano cheese. Probably the best Penne alla Vodka I ever had.
Fish came next, considering that a mere three and a half years ago I could still honestly say I never tasted fish, I learned to appreciate the creatures rather fast. In rapid succession we devoured Wild Smoked Salmon and Mozzarella, Tuna Filet Pepper Verde and a Chilean Sea Bass Scallopini.
The wild salmon came in an avocado puree, with homemade mozzarella in a balsamic reduction; there is hardly anything as delicious as fresh salmon. The tuna filet was served with green pepper crusted big eye tuna steak, Dijon mustard, cream and a vodka reduction. The sea bass dish consisted of thinly sliced Chilean sea bass sauteed with lemon, white wine, capers, sundried tomatoes, parsley, basil and shallots. All three were a testament to the Chef’s artistry.
We washed this massive feast down with a Herzog Special Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, as suggested by – our waiter - Eka. Though it is a native California wine, its style is very French; it exhibits currant, berry, and cherry combined with a delightful earthy minerality. Its tannins are soft, smooth and well balanced, culminating in a long elegant finish.
We capped the meal with a Tiramisu, again it was obvious that while we had expected a delicious meal, we got a very memorable royal feast!
There is no question I’ll be coming back again and again!