Michael and I were invited to try Solare over at Liberty Station. Slater’s 50/50 and Con Pane are a stone’s throw away from Solare. About a year and a half ago, Randy Smerik purchased Solare and brought on Chef Accursio Lota from Sicily to run the kitchen. Chef Accursio is a former Marine Room chef and previously hosted a Limone pop up with his wife here in San Diego.
There is outdoor dining in the front as well as the side of the restaurant pictured above.
Inside you will find additional seating for small or large parties.
Although we didn’t order anything from the happy hour menu, some of the tapas sounded quite tasty and you can get a feel for what the restaurant is going for. Fresh items from Suzie’s farm, house-made pasta, fresh local ingredients, etc.
You start off with hot house-made focaccia bread, baked three times a day. To me bread can take up precious stomach space, or it can serve a greater purpose and enhance a meal. Their focaccia bread was a great start and primed us for what was to come.
We started off with the Frittura di Pesce all’Italiana. Here we have lightly fried calamari, shrimp, carrots, and zucchini. It was accompanied with a salsa verde emulsion dipping sauce. Light is the key word here. Your hands can get rather greasy and oily with fried foods such as this, but their version left us relatively mess free. There was enough batter to be crispy, but not enough to overwhelm what was underneath. The only gripe we had was the shrimp was seasoned far more than the calamari. Other than that, we were impressed.
The Insalata Pere e Gorgonzola shined bright amongst our various dishes we sampled that day. When salad is one of the memorable moments in a meal, you know it has to be something special. They split it up into two plates since Michael and I were sharing and did a very nice job plating it! The greens are sourced from Suzie’s Farm and are paired with pears, pistachios, gorgonzola, and a honey vinegar from Slide Ridge. Balanced, bold, crisp, and fresh, this salad delivered the goods.
Michael ordered one of the specials: Tagliata di Angus e Battuto di Capperi e Carote. Tagliata refers to the steak being sliced rather than served whole. The angus beef ribeye was topped with chopped capers, alongside an arugula salad with tomatoes, pickled baby carrots, some other fresh vegetables, and I believe a polenta cake. Everything was neatly positioned on the plate with style and purpose. The beef could have used a tiny bit of extra seasoning, but overall it was a pleasant bite.
I ordered the Pappardelle Verdi Salsiccia e Carciofi which featured house-made spinach pappardelle pasta, fennel seed sausage, artichokes, San Marzano tomatoes, chili peppers, and pecorino crotonese, which is a sheeps milk cheese. The fresh pasta was cooked perfectly and stood up to everything that accompanied it. The cheese was not very heavy and didn’t overwhelm the plate. It finished with an ever so slight fruity flavor and played off nicely with the artichokes and tomatoes. Each ingredient stood out on its own and I would order this again in a heartbeat.
Chef Accursio mentioned pistachios are a popular ingredient where he is from in Sicily. One of the desserts we got to try was a pistachio creme brulee he created. The flavor was kind of what you expect between a regular creme brulee with pistachios infused. By itself it seemed a little thick, chunky, and dry. With the strawberries it added that little boost of juice and tart that I needed to balance out the spoonful.
Randy had them put together a dessert plate that featured their tiramisu and cannoli’s. The tiramisu had cake layers wet with lavazza espresso and I believe some sort of rum that seeped to the bottom layer. The cheese layers were made up of mascarpone. It was light and fluffy with a fairly strong coffee/alcohol aftertaste. If that isn’t your thing, you may be put off slightly. The cannoli’s had a very nice flaky outer shell to them that broke away perfectly after each bite. The filling was sweet, but not over the top and had a little piece of orange to round it out. All in all, a very nice selection of desserts.
We enjoyed our dinner over at Solare and appreciate what they are doing. They have jazz night, cooking classes, and a day they have 50% off pizza amongst other events they host. Randy and Chef Accursio are as passionate as can be, and it is something you can taste on the plate. Thanks to Samya over at BAM, Chef Accursio, and Randy for the invitation and hospitality. With many other great choices, we can’t wait to come back and try everything else!
2820 Roosevelt Rd.
San Diego, CA 92106