Our visit tonight was not the "first time."
My husband and I used to live in Minneapolis (now, of Springfield, IL), and we return to the city frequently because family lives here. So this is not our first visit to Solera.
Past visits to Solera came before my husband and I visited Spain, where we really learned about the tapas tradition(s), worked to replicate these in our own kitchen, with some success.
NOT at Solera.
With the exception of a couple of menu items, these are not Spanish tapas.
They are tapas changed to an American/Minnesotan taste.
The lamb meatballs....a STAPLE at most tapas bars in Spain...were cooked in a beautiful and savory sauce, BUT. It was so over-salted I could not eat them. When I bit into them, they were...."al dente," instead of tender and yielding. (At first bite, I thought I was eating a mushroom. NOT.)
The piquillo peppers, stuffed with a titch of goat cheese, were fabulous.....they didn't need the swimming bath of butter they were in. The patatas bravas (which are NOT a spicy dish in Spain....indeed, Spain does not do spicy), were very bright and hot. Hot is Mexican. Spain is not about hot.
And where were the gambas al ajillo?! The garlic shrimp that are a STAPLE of Spanish tapas bars throughout the country?! Not available on the menu at Solera, despite the fact that it is a CLASSIC tapa. Where is it, guys?!
We called it quits when we had just 3 things. I communicated with the waiter that the food was not to our expectation...and he removed $20 from the total of the bill... a wonderful step toward service recovery. (I gifted it back to him in total as a tip. He was awesome!)
So, here's the deal. Good service, mediocre food. I am sad to say this! In the past, Solera has been stellar. But it has succumbed to Midwestern expectations in serving sizes and tastes.
We won't be back.
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