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SOL MAR RESTAURANT, TARRYTOWN NY

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This quaint restaurant located on Main Street intrigued us from the beginning. It was always packed with patrons that looked to me like they found their way home. Inside was cozy, softly lit with warm colors everywhere. They brought olives and cheese to the table along with warm, freshly baked bread. We had the Prince Edward Mussels (Cooked in White Wine with Sausage and Tomatoes) and the Steamed Clams Bulhão Pato (Sauteed in White Wine with Garlic, Cilantro and Dijon Mustard). If you are planning to order these, you need to save your bread, or let them know you would need more. These are bread sopping starters and there’s nothing more you would want to be than a sopper. We also had the Grilled Calamari (with Olive Oil and Sundried Tomato). This is really good. Fresh and pretty. The bread was put to good use again. I found the chopped sundried tomatoes taste better that the julienne cut. The flavor seemed to pop out more.
Our entrees consisted of: Feijoada Completa (Brazil’s National Dish; Black Bean Pork and Sausage Stew) – this is really a comfort food. Rich, thick, and meaty, served with condiments that only made the dish better. Penne A Cachaça (Proprietor’s Specialty - with Shrimp, Scallops and Cachaça Sauce) – I was actually surprised to have liked this pasta dish. I didn’t want to order pasta in a non-Italian restaurant but the sauce was unique and delicious. Grilled Sardines (Portuguese Style with Roasted Peppers and Baked Potatoes) – an untrained fish eater might be turned off by this. The sardines were served whole, innards and all. Luckily, I’m a professional fish eater. They were wise not to take anything out. The flavors of the fish along with whatever they used to grill it with just made it perfect. The taste and texture were a delight. Camarão A Baiana (Sauteed Shrimp in Tomato Sauce, Palm Oil and Coconut Milk) – you cannot go wrong with shrimp. This was great on its own but eating it with the rice and beans (which accompanied all entrees except the pasta) made it better.
Sol Mar knows how to do their food heritage justice. Their vision is to make good, hearty dishes even better, which makes me a very happy eater.

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  1. Thanks for the review of this restaurant. I have been wanting to try it for some time now. The area definitely does need a good Portuguese restaurant. Caravela is okay but the service is quite poor.

    9 Replies
    1. re: JustMe08

      I'm gonna side with Gastro here. I was in Sol Mar once... it did look like it could be a great place. Don't even remember what I had, but I thought it was "OK." Not inspired to go back, and I live in town. They did not have the Feijoada that day -- apparently, they do not have it every day, though it is on the regular menu, and it is the dang signature dish of the freakin country! So I was a little bummed from the start.
      And, if I must say, Red, it sounds like you own the place. Was it that good? That perfect? Really?

      OK, not lookig for a fight. You're just very enthusiastic is all.

      1. re: woodburner

        Me too...we went to Sol Mar once, and wouldn't go back, and I also really wanted to like it. The feijoada was completely tasteless, the penne a cachaca was horrible--sickeningly sweet...the prices high. Glad the restaurant was so perfect for you though, Red...just curious, what is a "professional fish eater"?

        1. re: Marge

          I'm sorry you all had a bad experience when you went, we just happened to love the place and liked the food. "Professional fish eater"? Hehe! That just means we eat all of the fish, head, bones, etc. :)

        2. re: woodburner

          We never start fights here *wink*. I don't own the place. It was that good for us. It was that perfect. Sorry you didn't enjoy it

          1. re: red tequila

            Cool. Thanks. How many times have you been there in all now? Consistent??

            1. re: woodburner

              I also live in town and went to Solmar a number of times when it first opened, when it was still byob. (But since they got their license, tightwad wine drinker me hasn't been back.) I made my way through much of the menu, and I found the cooking competent overall. I liked the Alentejo-style pork and clams, and the bolinhos de bacalhau were good, if a bit expensive. I've enjoyed the shrimp dishes. Feijoada was also good, although I found it a bit short on meat. Feijoada in Brazil is traditionally served on Saturday, so it's not surprising that Solmar doesn't serve it every day (although they could note this on the menu). At the risk of setting off Gastro, I think the cooking here is better and more consistent than at Caravela. And having been to Portugal five times, I'll add that Portuguese cooking in general can be a bit of a crapshoot---it can be great or ghastly, and you never know which it's going to be until it lands in front of you.

              1. re: Boswell

                We did not try the Portuguese food at Solmar. We haven't been to Caravela in years, but recently enjoyed a Portuguese meal at Aquario in Harrison. But if you want a reasonable BYOB Portuguese meal may I recommend Doca's in Ossining.

                1. re: Marge

                  Doca's have good food too. Particularly the clams.

              2. re: woodburner

                We have gone twice and both times we were pleased. That's why I'm kind of surprised with the experiences you and Marge had. Our penne was great, wasn't sweet at all. Our stew was great, tasty. I don't know the owner, I have no vested interest.

        3. I was in Tarrytown for work last week, and had read Westchester's mag best new restos, and it included Solmar. Portugese/Brazilian . . . I'm game!

          Had wonderful garlickly grilled octopus to start, then oysters with a spicy red sauce, and then the bean/pork national dish. All very yummy, particularly the first two. (I ordered too much food, urp! to fully enjoy the entree!)

          It's owned by a man and his 16 year old son earnestly waits tables. Bread is disappointingly white; heated with cold butter served alongside. Interesting wine list. Service is very good.

          Went back the next night because I liked it so much and repeated the octopus and oysters; had the grilled sardines, which were very good; spiced and good with the plain potatoes. This kitchen has soul!

          -----
          Solmar
          12 Main St, Tarrytown, NY 10591

          1 Reply
          1. re: NYchowcook

            Four of us met yesterday at Sol Mar for lunch and had a wonderful me. We drank some Vinho Verde, some black Brazilian beer and some Brazilian lager.

            Our appetizers included the bolhinos de bacalau; some pretty good crabcakes, with two sauces; grilled calamari with sun dried tomatoes, and a Portuguese Salad with grilled sardines on top.

            The bread was warm, the crust was crisp and Alex, the affable young waiter kept the basket filled. In fact, he gave service far superior to many older waiters we have had elsewhere.

            Our mains were a rich Feijoada Completa; Porco Alentejano, which was an amazing dish for we who'd never had it before (who could imagine a tender pork stew topped with Little Neck Clams?). I had the controversial Grilled Sardines, and I was totally pleased. Boning them was a simple matter. The taste was of pure fish with little embellishment; a little olive oil, a touch of coarse salt and some roasted sweet red pepper strips. I asked Alex, our waiter for some piri piri sauce, and he brought me a bottle of homemade

            The dessert selection tray held two out of the six items that were made in house. Those were the "Molotov", a light meringue striped with a caramel sauce; and the other, the finest flan we've ever eaten. It was tender, delicate, just rich enough, and there was a *real* burnt sugar sauce on it. That is unmissable for flan fans. My accompanying cafe espresso was expertly made.

            We were totally pleased with our meal. The owner, Senhor Carlo Mendonça, treated us to after dinner drinks of a very nice Moscatel do Douro.

            If we lived nearby, we would be frequent visitors. (We live in central México.)
            I have reviewed Sol Mar in detail, with illustrations, on my blog, http://mexkitchen.blogspot.com/2011/0...

             
             
             
             
             
             
          2. I'm suspicious of places that label themselves "Portuguese/Brazilian". The only thing these 2 countries share is the language. Cuisine, 2 different worlds. Like Spain and Mexico.

            For an authentic Portuguese experience, go up the road to Ossining to Churrasqueira Ribatejo. Run by Portuguese, mostly Portuguese folks eating there. Highly authentic!

            SolMar sounds OK, but it's neither Portuguese nor Brazilian.

            -----
            Churrasqueira Ribatejo
            39 Spring St, Ossining, NY 10562

            2 Replies
            1. re: menton1

              We didn't care if it were Portuguese-Martian-Brazilian. The food and service were great and we enjoyed it very much.

              Maybe we'll try your suggestion next time we're in the area.

              1. re: menton1

                And yet you like Watermoon, which is an unauthentic hodgepodge of different Asian cuisines.