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DeRushaEats: Small Plates & Big Flavors—Rediscovering Solera


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I made the mistake of booking a reservation last Saturday at Solera, right next to the Orpheum Theater. A mistake, because Glamorama was going on, and there was a major high-fashion show underway. I was wearing a dark brown polo shirt, and felt like a total nerd.

At any rate, the most beautiful thing I saw that night was not walking down the red carpet, it was dancing across my plate.

J.P. Samuelson is really knocking it out of the park, and if you've forgotten about Solera, it's time to revisit.

What did we love? The octopus ceviche with citrus, pepper, and cumin was absolutely delightful. It looked like no ceviche I've ever seen before: thin slices of beautiful octopus, packed with flavor.

The braised rabbit was a really decadent dish; the rabbit was so deliciously prepared, it was creamy and juicy, each taste elevated with a great piece of artichoke.

I hate pork rinds—you know, the ones you buy (or don't) at a gas station. But you need to order JP's fried chicharrón with sea salt and paprika. They tasted like pork! They were crunchy, meaty, salty deliciousness. Get them.

     

I love tapas because I can eat slowly, and I can spend as much or as little as I want. The four of us had a $25 pitcher of sangria, and all the tapas we ate cost us just about $60 more. That's an incredible bargain—drinks and dinner for under $100 for four people.

Make sure you save room for Diane Yang's incredible desserts. Her peach tapas dessert plate was as delicious as it was gorgeous. A peach popsicle, creme brulee, upside cake, soda, and canneloni—yum.

And the service was fantastic. Our waiter had been with JP from the days of JP American Bistro at Lyndale and Lake. He knew the menu, made great recommendations, and was a lot of fun.

Solera is chic but casual. The supermodels fit in, right alongside the suburban dork with the brown polo shirt. Which is good news for us all, right?

Solera Restaurant
900 Hennepin Avenue, Mpls.
612-338-0062
solera-restaurant.com

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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