First Time to Sola Good But...
Had dinner at Sola for the first time Saturday evening. Went with high expectations based in part on enthusiastic reports on this board. Food itself was mostly very good and at times excellent, yet the overall experience was a bit of a letdown. Began with a 30+ minute wait at the packed bar area. ("I've got three tables on dessert and another that just asked for thier check...") Place was packed and generated quite a din. I mean really loud. So among the starters, stuffed squash blossom (special) and heirloom tomato salad were terrific, the crabcakes and potsticker plate both quite good if oversalted. For mains, halibut and shortribs were the stars, miso cod pretty good, and poached ono (special), well, basically a dud (bland and dry). With some exceptions, I sensed a surprisingly heavy hand with salt throughout the meal, unexpected from a kitchen of this caliber. Desserts were quite good if unremarkable. Service was just fine to start but soon became harried to the point nearly of absurdity. Even when nearly 40 mins passed before dessert hit the table we found ourselves sympathizing with the staff. It was pretty hard to ignore the unfolding spectacle around us as busboys careened about, yelling to each other above the din, nearly tripping over chairs, yanking plates away...not that it was in any way their fault. All in all, we came away with the distinct sense that a creative, appealing neighborhood spot with an impressive kitchen had become all but overwhelmed by its recent success. It's great to see a place like this connect. Yet the somewhat uneven quality coupled with a truly frenetic atmosphere will discourage us from returning at least until things calm down a bit and Sola regains a handle on quality control. Fingers remain crossed!
Interesting. I was there maybe 6 months ago on a weekend and while busy, nothing like you describe. No wait for our 7:30 Saturday reservation, good relaxed service, and very good food. We also sat relatively close to the Kitchen door, so chaos on the part of the wait staff would have been very apparent. In fact, the chef/owner Carol Wallack even had time to take a walk around the room and ask us and others how we enjoyed the meal. I do hope they take the time to get things back under control again.