After going to a lovely tasting at Chateau Montelena, The Brit and I needed lunch. It was a cold, wet, miserable day so we were looking for some great food to cheer us up after being drenched in a downpour. We made our reservation at Solbar at the SolageResort. It is the only Michelin star rated restaurant in the Calistoga area and I have to say I was looking forward to our meal.
We had never been to either the resort or the restaurant before, although we have passed it many times on the Silverado Trail. It is a beautiful place, even in the rain. I loved the landscaping and the gorgeous pipe water feature. Still, I didn’t have time to dilly dally as the rain was starting to really come down. (The photo above was taken a different day.)
Inside was stunning. One truly gets the feeling of luxury without it trying too hard. There was a comfortable atmosphere too that was unexpected. I loved the warmth of the fireplace with its blazing flames and the openness of the restaurant. The light fixtures were large wooden spheres reminiscent of yarn balls suspended from the ceiling. They were contemporary but really cool looking. The soft gray and warm wood color choices give the room a high-end feel.
Once seated, our waiter was very quick with the water and menus. He was very knowledgeable about the wine list and the daily specials and he made great suggestions from his favorite dishes. I really enjoy it when waiters are enthusiastic about the dishes they are serving. To me, it makes the experience of dining with them more enjoyable.
We ordered glasses of wine to start. The Brit ordered a glass of the Lorenza 2015 Rosé. It was a fantastic sip, and we both enjoyed its clean, dry, and wonderful fruit flavors. It paired perfectly with our starter of crab cakes.
The crab cakes were flavorful and perfect. So many times you bite into a crab cake and you get a mouth full of fillers that make up the interior of the crispy coating. This was all tender, sweet, lightly spiced crab. That’s it; simple and easy. The mustard cream that was served with it was amazing and enhanced the flavors of the delicate crab without overwhelming it. The frisée salad, served on the side, had a chile lime vinegarette and small slivers of pear. It was delicious.
The Brit comments: I am not someone who gets excited by salad, but in this case, I enjoyed it us much as the excellent crab cakes.
For my main course, I ordered the fish tacos. I absolutely love fish tacos, and these were amongst the best I have ever tasted. What made them outstanding was the crispy, crunchy coating of the cornmeal along with the panko. It gave the petrale sole a lovely texture along with being perfectly cooked for the win. I loved the combination of the sweet and sour cabbage and the spicy aioli. It was so so good; just thinking about it makes my mouth water and tummy rumble.
I paired my tacos with a glass of Rombauer Chardonnay. It was a really great choice as the full body of the wine really stood up to the spicy sauce on the tacos without overshadowing the delicate fish.
The Brit had the duck Bah Mi sandwich. It was beautifully presented. I really liked how they placed the bun on an angle for a little artistic touch. The flavor was out of this world yummy. The duck was soft and juicy, yet still crispy with lots of flavors. The jalapeno, carrot, spicy-aioli, and cilantro gave it texture and yumm factor. I would order it the next time I visited this restaurant if I didn’t love the fish tacos so much.
The Brit comments: I loved the varied flavours and textures of this dish, but I do think that California Girl won this round; her fish tacos were even better.
Our overall impression of Solbar was excellent. We would highly recommend you visit the next time you are in the Calistoga area. Maybe visit Rombauer Vineyards or Chateau Montelena while you are in the area. Heck, this place is good enough to plan a special visit just to eat there. It is worth the drive to do so.