BEST RESTAURANT FOR DESSERT - 2004
We can think of about a thousand reasons why Solera is the best restaurant for dessert in Minnesota--yes, a dozen: 1) The enormous sherry list; 2) the sexy lighting; 3) the after-work-to-very-late hours, perfect for post-work birthdays or don't-let-this-date-die nights; 4) the romantic rooftop patio; 5) proximity to all the downtown-theater district stuff, and when else do you have dessert alone, except after concerts or a show; 6) marvelous Spanish cheeses for your savory dessert needs; 7) very well-made espresso; 9) Tea Source tea service, and, of course, numbers 10 through 1,000: Adrienne Odom, Solera's gigantically talented pastry chef, who makes desserts that are terrifically imaginative, but also whimsical, lively, amusing, and fun fun fun. She always has a "dessert tapas" platter with a bunch of tiny, funny little desserts that amuse palate and mind alike. One month there may be a doll-size plum soda with a bit of ice cream floating up top, another time a flan topped with a scattering of corn nuts, another time a chocolate trufflelike concoction of deeply concentrated, slightly buttery dark chocolate sprinkled with flaky white salt, accenting the flowery notes of the chocolate. More substantial desserts are often just as thrilling: A peach trifle made with discs of sherried cake tastes like the very moment summer breaks into autumn, with the oaky smoke of the sherry putting a fine edge to the ripe summer fruits. Really, there are so many reasons to go to Solera for dessert, sometimes the true miracle seems to be that we find any reason at all to stay home.