I came to SOL Mexican Cocina for their media grand opening a while back and I was very impressed. SOL Mexican Cocina offers up is a new kind of Mexican inspired seafood, with all of the bells and whistles. When you’re in the mood for very authentic fresh Baja style Mexican with a bit of a twist, then SOL is definitely the place for you.
The other remarkable thing is this new area called Playa Vista. Playa Vista is a neighborhood located in the Westside of the City of Los Angeles, North of LAX. Prior to the development of Playa Vista, the area was the headquarters of Hughes Aircraft Company from 1941 to 1985, and was the site of the construction of the Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” aircraft. The area began development in 2002 as a planned community with residential, commercial, and retail components. The community has become a choice address for businesses in technology, media and entertainment, along with Santa Monica and Venice, which is known as Silicon Beach. Visiting Playa Vista feels like you’re in a different city, and the little details are astounding. They have outdoor seating, that includes a canvas cover for the sun. It is very pleasant; if someone doesn’t take you there, you would never know this new urban sprawl exists. The amazing part is, if you live there you would never have to go to far to eat, drink and be merry.
Here’s what I tried:
SOL Signature Drinks:
Sol’s House Margarita, made with SOL’s house made sour mixes, freshly squeezed orange juice,
Agavales Blanco, & a splash of Patron Citronge. I love this margarita, it is bold, but not too much tequila, so you can have a few and not feel the alcohol.
Blackberry Ginger Margarita, fresh blackberries and ginger muddled with Partida Blanco Tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar. This one to me was too sour with not enough sweetness.
Pineapple Serrano Margarita, a balance of heat and sweet, made with Corralejo Blanco, muddled pineapple, fresh lime juice and Serrano chile. May I say that after I drank one sip my mouth was on fire, so for me I would skip this one.
Cucumber Jalapeno Margarita, muddled cucumber and jalapeno with Corralejo Blanco, fresh lime and agave nectar. This is good, but I liked the watermelon and the house margarita better.
Watermelon Margarita, muddled watermelon, Corralejo Blanco and fresh limejuice. This margarita is so soothing, refreshing and delicious, with all of it great watermelon essence.
Guacamole Sol, with guacamole, mango, tequila, onions, goat cheese, pepitas & cilantro. This is a very unique way of doing guacamole, but somehow it works.
Coconut Calamari, with sesame, dried orange peel and spicy sauce. Big huge pieces, very delicious breading and the sauce it just stupendous.
Hot & Raw Tropical Ceviche, Spicy, Raw fish ceviche with fresh lime & orange, habanero chiles & tropical fruit, avocado, cucumber & pico, served in a tall glass with sweet potato & red beet chips. This is a nice rendition of a Latin staple, there I just not as much fish as I would have liked, but its still a nice ceviche.
Grilled Sweet Corn, wood buttered, with butter, lime, chiles, cotixa cheese & chipotle drizzle. This is their showstopper, they cut the corn off the husk tableside, and it’s just delicious, especially the oozing sauce.
Quesadillas- 2 large tortillas & Mexican cheeses with grilled carne asada avocado sauce & chipotle sauce. This is a big meaty quesadilla, and the meat inside is very yummy.
Sopa Y Ensalada:
Baja Style Corn Chowder with Crab, creamy corn soup with vegetables, lobster broth and wine, finished with buttered Baja stone crabmeat. I just loved this soup; it has some big lobster flavors, with a nice kick, but truly a one of a kind soup.
T.J. Grilled Shrimp & Avocado Salad, romaine salad with TJ Caesar dressing, cotixa cheese, green olives and garlic toasts, topped with grilled shrimp and sliced avocado. This is really a well thought out salad; I just loved all of the big combination of flavors.
Wild Fish on Esquites, local wild fish with almond, lemon crust, on grilled sweet corn esquites with tomato, basil, fresh lime, epazote-avocado butter, scallions and cotixa cheese. This fish is a very thick buttery fish, it almost tasted like lobster, and the tomato sauce adds the right amount balance.
Grilled Maine Lobster Tails, two 4-oz Maine lobster tails grilled Puerto Nuevo style, with mojo de ajo garlic butter and three salsas, served with tortillas to build your tacos. These are little tails, but they have a very sweet wonderful flavor.
Grilled Kobe Skirt Steak, Wagyu-style skirt steak, with cilantro sauce, tomatillo salsa, grilled cebollitas and avocado. This steak was remarkable, done rare, it was very tender with a nice smoky flavor.
Spice – Roasted Butternut Squash with crispy onions, roasted green chili salsa and red pepper salsa. This is my kind of fusion type of taco, with it’s rich butternut squash taste, and crispy onions, all I can say is wow.
Canarditas Duck, deep-fried duck leg confit, tequila-laced blackberry Serrano salsa envinada, avocado, cilantro & onion. The duck is lovely and the marriage of all of the ingredients is super delicious.
Banana-Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding, served warm with cinnamon crema, chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. An extremely rich dessert, with a big chocolate bang.
La Guera – ‘blondie’ with white chocolate and pecans, served warm with ice cream and cajeta envinada (caramel sauce with a touch of reposado tequila) fruit, and pecans. I just adored the caramel sauce and the brownie is very doable as well.
Here are the Wines I tried:
Mer Soleil, Chardonnay, this wine is so buttery; it is just the perfect bland of everything you would want to happen with a chardonnay. I drink this wine with the lobster tails, its will balance out the smooth buttery flavor in the lobster.
Bernadus “SLH”, Chardonnay, it was very difficult to say which Chardonnay I liked better, because both of them were outstanding, very drinkable with any of the fish dishes.
Earthquake, Zinfandel, rich berry flavors; this wine went great with the Kobe skirt steak.
CA (by Dave Phinney), Red Blend, well of course the obvious pair would be any type of red meat, but I really loved this wine with the banana-dark chocolate bread pudding.
Designed to echo the expansive sea, sky, and desert elements of the Baja peninsula, SOL brings together old world charm and urban comfort. They cook in an open kitchen with counter seating for guests who like to see the bustling kitchen that is much like a Baja taco bar. SOL offers a menu full of fresh, seasonal ingredients, and authentic Mexican flavors, along with a vibrant bar that honors the flavors of the Baja region with over 60 artisan tequilas and an inviting fire element. They love the timeless beauty of Southern California and Baja and are committed to keeping it that way. Whenever possible, they have chosen products and programs that they believe to be both environmentally,and socially pro-active. SOL chooses and serves seafood that is certified by MSC and Seafood Watch; source their meat from small packers using environmentally safe and humane methods; and they resolve to be as environmentally-friendly a restaurant as possible with low-water use fixtures, no bleach, using plastic lids instead of plastic wrap. Everything that can be recycled is recycled.
Authentic Baja California cuisine evolved from the cooking of its early settlers – the fishing families and ranchers who came to this rugged region from mainland Mexico. The people who settled here had to look to the sea; there were no rich fields of corn and vegetables and no fat herds of cattle or hogs. Fuel was scarce and expensive, and communities were small and isolated. Simple, quick and fresh became the bywords of Baja-style cooking.
Executive Chef & Partner, SOL Cocina, Deborah Schneider, dubbed by Bon Appetit Magazine, “The reigning queen of San Diego chefs,” and nominated for a coveted 2009 James Beard Foundation Award for her cookbook Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta, Chef Deborah Schneider brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her newest venture as Executive Chef of SOL Cocina. Schneider draws upon her rich culinary background and over 25 years of professional cooking experience to bring the wonderful tastes and laid–back beach vibe of the Baja Peninsula to Southern California. Her books include: Salsa and Moles, Baja, cooking on the edge, The Mexican Slow Cooker, Amor & Tacos, Cooking With The Seasons of Rancho La Puerta, Essentials of Latin Cooking.
There is lots of action here with its very modern yet earthy interiors. You see many people on dates, families, girls night out, and just about every other opportunity to get out here in Playa Vista and try something special.
This is Baja style cuisine at its best, really skip any of the others that profess to have great Baja food. The SOL Mexican Cocina experience is not only delicious and enjoyable; it also allows the diner to understand the art of eclectic cuisine. They take pride in creating traditional and authentic Mexican food from scratch in their open kitchens. Everything they do is made fresh every day — including over 24 fresh salsas.
I truly crave this type of food all the time, now I know where I can go and be completely satisfied!
SOL Mexican Cocina Playa Vista
12775 Millennium Dr. #160, Playa Vista, CA 90094
The Runway at Playa Vista
Phone: (424) 289-0066