Graves Hospitality took over Solera's restaurant and event center operations last November with plans to freshen up the concept. Looks and tastes that seemed striking eight years ago--has it really been that long?--were starting to feel a little dated.
So the restaurant shut down last Sunday for a light remodel and reopened last night with a cleaner, more contemporary look and new chef Jorge Guzman's menu, which expands Solera's original tapas concept to include a more well-rounded assortment of entrees, salads, and soups, plus a large selection of house-made charcuterie.
The Hot Dish touched base with Graves Hospitality president Ben Graves to find out more about the changes:[jump]
The restaurant's front lounge/tapas bar is now filled with new hammered copper dining tables and heavy leather chairs in lieu of the large wall/host desk by the door and the high-top and canoe-shaped tables. The concrete floor has been covered with wood to make the space feel warmer and more organic.
Here's a little "before"...
Guzman's new menu was intended to lighten up Solera's food offerings. "The [old] menu was too tapas-only focused and almost had only one flavor profile--salty, savory and a bit heavy," Graves says. The new menu, he notes, is more well-rounded, citing the addition of more greens, more fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients. The new menu, he says, will change more frequently and be more chef-driven, as opposed to the old menu's constancy ("it was laminated and looked like a chain restaurant menu" Graves notes).
The menu may look markedly different, but Graves points out that some the of the old favorites have been remade into new dishes that offer a greater variety of flavors and textures. For example, the chorizo stuffed dates have been incorporated into an organic greens salad with a blood orange vinaigrette.
While we might miss the happy hour and tapas-for-two deals at the original Solera, we're very much looking forward to hitting the old familiar roofdeck and checking out the new menu--and what was that about complementary sangria at the start of every meal?