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Apr 15, 2011 06:47 AM

Sol Azteca - Newton Centre

Pretty disappointing.

Chips tasted like they were from a bag, or had been sitting. For the price of the entrees at this place, I really would have loved some nice big hot freshly-fried totopo-y corn chips. We ordered guacamole which was very bland and too cold to taste the subtleties of the avocado (refrigerated; I was hankering for some freshly made room-temp stuff). It was presented in two neat scoops on a leaf of lettuce. $8.50 for that?! Sheeeiiit - I have been spoiled by tableside guac prep, it seems.

My DC ordered the carnitas, which were not identifiable because they were under a mound of shredded lettuce and cheeeeze. The meat was tender enough, but was CLOYINGLY sweet - solely of orange juice. None of the subtle spicy sweet balanced goodness of a good, slow-cooked thoughtfully-spiced carnitas. I actually just had a bite of her leftovers for breakfast, and it reconfirmed the absurd level of oversweetness.

My chilaquiles ended up being a cheeeeze-glazed hockey puck of corn tortilla, beans, some shredded white meat chicken, and a big poofy dollop of sour cream on one side. I guess I was expecting a more homey, looser casserole, than a big cheesy tex-mex-clump. Would have loved it to have eggs in it - yes, yes, I know it is a brunch dish, but still.

The accompanying purple cabbage was tasty, as others have mentioned previously.

I'm not sure I'd be back: Maybe I didn't order the right things. I'd heard good things about the higados (chicken livers) but wasn't in the mood, so we didn't get 'em. Unfortunately, I found the price to be a bit much for what it was. The decor was cute, though.

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  1. They have an excellent cilantro sauce - basically salsa verde on steroids - which is great on fish. Most everything else I have tried is standard fare suburban mex.

    1 Reply
    1. re: drb

      I considered ordering that - I guess I should have!

    2. We've found the food to be much better at the Beacon Street location.

      1. A waste of a great patio. They're 1st generation Boston Mexican restaurant--just passable, and overpriced. Agree, though, that the food @ Beacon St. is a tad better.

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. How disappointing. The Sangria at the Beacon St. location alone is worth the trip. Unlike most of the local Spanish places whose Sangria people rave about (and considering that it's a Spanish drink, you'd think they'd be killing it), Sol Azteca actually lets the fruit (and a cinnamon stick) macerate in the wine for a significant amount of time, which gives it much more depth and smoothness than any of the others.

            The food might not be ridiculously authentic, but the braised shredded beef and potatoes (forget what it goes with) is comfort food at its best, the pickled cabbage is a nice foil for the often heavier-than-it-should-be fare.

            Although sweet, the carnitas that I've always had there was well balanced with a nose running amount of spice and saltiness. I'm not sure if it's authentic to anywhere in Mexico, but it seems like this is a saucy braised version of carnitas rather than the confit style version that's much more common. The two Portuguese dishes called torresmos come to mind as an analog. Although they're both called torresmos, one is bits of pork butt (or a similar cut) braised in wine and spices. The other is pork belly that's slow cooked in fat (basically confited) in a similar way to the carnitas we're used to (they often have a big tray of this variety, freshly cooked sitting out at Fernandes Fish Market on Cambridge St. and it's totally worth picking some up as a cheap/heavy snack.) I wouldn't doubt that there was a similar breadth of interpretations for carnitas in Mexico, though I could be completely full of $h!t on this one.

            If I can give the Beacon St. location anything, it's been extremely consistent over the dozen or so visits that I've made in 25 years (first time when I was about 6)... But I can certainly see why someone who was into the bright, fresh, and vibrant flavors of many Mexican dishes would be disappointed. It sounds like the experience you had was definitely significantly worse than any of my experiences on Beacon though.

            Sol Azteca
            914A Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215

            Fernandes Fish Market
            1097 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02139